There is a nasty preconceived notion that public relations involves lying. Stretching the truth, at best. This is playing out right now with the HARO debacle. Based on this alone I can see how the idea proliferates, but sadly, there are plenty of stories and examples that promote public relations as ‘spin’ – how the hell can you trust anything a person in public relations says? I understand why journalists are wary. I cannot defend the entire industry, I cannot speak for other firms, but I can speak for INK – we are not in the business of telling lies, spin, or even misdirection.
Unfortunately, I have seen this mistrust for PR seep into the client relationship as well. It isn’t just journalists that are wary of PR firms. Prospective new clients come to us with horror stories from firms past. New contacts, executives, and just client employees that are not normally exposed to PR are hesitant at best.
The most successful client relationships are ones steeped in sincerity – honest expectations, honest critique, honest praise – from both parties. Let me repeat that. FROM BOTH PARTIES. Regardless of who you contract with, you should expect honesty and you should be honest. Your PR firm should be an extension of your team. You wouldn’t tolerate an internal liar – why would you from your firm? And you wouldn’t lie to your internal team. To be out-of-the-park, kick-ass, blow-em-all-away successful, everyone needs to be on the same page and up to speed.
INK will tell it to you straight – we aren’t gonna lie (sometimes we don’t even sugarcoat), we just lay it all out there. This isn’t a game – this is business. This is your hard-earned money and ours.
There are so many negative examples out there (the above included), but I want to close on a positive. Yesterday, I was part of a very frank new business meeting. Both sides laid their cards on the table. All of them. I am more excited about this business than I can possibly express. And, I am not gonna lie, my skirt was not blown up based on the technology, at first, or the company, at first. But honest collaboration is a heady drug, folks. Stay tuned. This is going to be amazing.