Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Is Credibility PR's Missing Ingredient?

Credibility. It's one of those virtues that almost everybody in business would say that they have, but when it comes to credibility, surveys and other meters of public/customer/client opinion almost always paint a different picture than businesses might like to admit.

Obviously, PR is no different. In fact, if you asked a lot of people whether or not PR was down close to or completely at the bottom of the heap in terms of credibility, people might give it one of the worst scores. (That said, you could substitute PR with any number of other professions, including journalism -- the profession whose members many of us most regularly interact with -- and they'd get a poor score too, which I guess really says we're a skeptical lot.)

I bring this issue up because it's the subject of the latest entry in Richard Edelman's well-followed blog. In a nutshell, he confronts the PR industry for its hand in allowing the industry to be known as a collection of spinmeisters, rather than purveyors of truthful, valuable information.

I won't go into every issue addressed in Richard's post, because he does it very well. I just think it's very encouraging to see people at well-known firms tackle these issues head on. Sure, I could say one thing and maybe a handful of people will read it. But when an industry leader promotes a particular thought, it will get much broader attention. And the issues Richard brings up benefit our whole industry.

Now I just hope the PRSA and other industry executives will take the mantle and run with it as well.