PR: opportunity ahead

The public relations business is on the verge of a major growth explosion, and there are two big reasons why: transparency and social media. And the...

The public relations business is on the verge of a major growth explosion, and there are two big reasons why: transparency and social media. And the two are linked.

Indeed social media has caused de facto transparency. There is significant pressure to tell the truth when every individual is a potential publisher in every organization, plus the growing social trend to “confess” via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, companies who hide information will be rapidly found out.

Thus, every company should be undertaking a transparency audit. It is not an option. It’s as important a tool for assessing risk and exposure as a financial audit. If we do it right, we will become almost as vital as accountants. And then we need to implement the tactics that flow from the audit to keep our clients’ reputations intact.

Think of the violators over the past 15 months – such corporate stalwarts as Lehman Brothers, AIG, Bear Stearns, and the Big Three automakers.

We also need to speak out about the need for transparency and the consequences if no action is taken. There have been so many corporate transparency violations where no one in our business is even quoted in the media, which means editors are not thinking of us in the way they should—we need to change that.

We also need to remind our clients and prospects that while product, performance, and price may get you in the door, it takes trust to close the sale and keep the organization’s business vibrant. Building a dialogue, relationships, and trust with our clients’ constituencies will keep both sides honest, which is what is needed to survive in today’s environment.

Ken Makovsky, CEO, Makovsky & Company

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