PR Can Be a Force for Good

enter The credibility of our profession is at a low ebb. The initials PR may as well stand for Pretend Reality. To resort to a “PR campaign” is to desperately attempt to perfume the swine. Too often, the criticism is spot on. The charade and the charlatans are rightly ridiculed, dismissed as silly and ineffectual.

Worse, PR is sometimes viewed as malevolent, sinister even. Speaking at the International Press Freedom Awards in New York in November, Harvard’s John S. Carroll bemoaned a disturbing trend of imbalance – the diminished number of journalists (as newsrooms everywhere face budget cuts) together with the soaring number of “propagandists and PR people" worldwide. PR as despicable manipulation, shades of Joseph Goebbels.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only corporate flack in the audience who felt the slight. Those of us who are committed to a much higher standard of public relations need to do more than just complain; we need to set the record straight through our actions as well as our words. We need to be nothing less that a Force for Good at our companies and for our profession.

follow – Jon Harmon


  1. Michael says:

    next What kinds of “actions” do you suggest to help with obtaining a better reputation for PR?

  2. Jon H says:

    go site That’s exactly what I’m going to talk about in my blog. It’s all about THIS: transparency, honesty, integrity and social responsiblity. But it also is about claiming thought leadership — and that means pushing your company’s leaders to stretch beyond the traditional bounds of your business. The rewards of this thought-leadership directly relate to business success as customers and other stakeholders associate “leading-edge,” “thoughtful” and “winning” to your brands’ identity. People want to do business with thoughtful, winning companies.

  3. Randy says:

    master researches all over the world are you sure you want to go to a Joesph Goebbels reference?

  4. john v says:

    I enjoyed your articles (Can I call them that, or must I use the word “blog?” :) Reading them I got a sense of many Euro companies and their approach to business – or at least PR. When I think of green companies I think Euro. When I think about “carbon footprints” (and I must admit I don’t do it often!) I think Euro.
    Is the Force for Good akin to these models? Can it hope to gain a foothold in US corporations without DIRECTLY improving the bottom line?
    By the way…I loved the Goebbels reference.

  5. Jon H says:

    I believe it will become increasingly apparent that winning reputational momentum is a company’s greatest capital asset, and that effective reputation management (first, doing the right things; secondly, engaging with customers with open, honest communications) WILL lead directly to bottom-line success. Advances in measurement (including reputation in a company’s “marketing mix model”)are showing the direct connection to revenue.

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