Has your boss ever referred to you as the company ’spin-doctor?’ In my opinion, company executives who call their PR people spin-doctors are idiots. It just proves they don’t understand the business of public relations or the media.
Has your boss ever referred to you as the company ’spin-doctor?’ In
my opinion, company executives who call their PR people spin-doctors are
idiots. It just proves they don’t understand the business of public
relations or the media.
Recently, I’ve been talking a lot about getting back to basics in our PR
activities. Whether talking with the media or with my own team of pros,
I am convinced that all of us, including yours truly, need a swift kick
in the pants every now and again to remind us of how PR pros are really
supposed to operate.
Oftentimes we get so busy with our jobs that we let the little things
cloud one of the most basic principles of PR: tell the truth. Common
sense and hard-earned experience dictate that open and honest
communications is the most effective of our PR tools. But inadvertently,
a sticky situation will come our way that can bring out the worst in all
Even the best intentions can lead to temptation. Though we may not like
to think of ourselves as dodging, truth-stretching spin meisters, in our
efforts to protect our employer’s image, we sometimes fail - simply due
to poor judgement.
Working for Nissan, I am acutely familiar with the Japanese way of doing
PR - you are either quiet or very quiet. Japanese executives tend not to
talk openly about bad news, unless forced to do so by extraordinary
circumstances. And Nissan was no exception to the Japanese inclination
to avoid the press, not only in bad times but in good times as well.
My way of working with the media is an exact 180-degree turn from the
way the Japanese do things. It is called openness. You can’t be honest
and forthcoming only some of the time; it’s a full-time job. And believe
me, journalists know - at least, the good ones do - when you’re
stretching the truth.
I’m convinced that when you make yourself available to a reporter when
the corporation’s keister is on the line, they will be more open to
listening to your positive pitches down the road. It reminds me of what
Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Indians once said, ’Good words do not last
long unless they amount to something.’
When you bring PR into the equation, you can pretty much predict how the
story will play. Whether it’s Motown, Capitol Hill or Wall Street, a
well-thought out strategy allows you to know the impact before you act,
and saves you grief down the road.
So what is the soul of PR, whether in bad times or good? I’ll say it
again: tell the truth. Don’t hide from the tough questions. And since
words are the shadows of deeds these days, I know when my company is
walking the walk, I really like talking the talk - no spinning