Professionalism and Ethics in the PR World

Ethics and professionalism each play a huge role in the public relations industry, and it is important for any PR executive to remain well versed in each of these subjects. Both topics are connected, considering that one’s professionalism can be compromised if they do not make the right ethical decision in the work place. PR professionals must be educated on ethics and professionalism in order to stay relevant and make the right decisions while on the job.
The topic of ethics can be very complicated at times. With several different philosophies surrounding the topic, and so many opposing viewpoints on what is right and wrong, there is still much to be learned about this complex subject. To many, ethics is known as a moral branch of philosophy. This branch of philosophy addresses right and wrong conduct. Originally, the term ethics came from the Greek word “ethos,” that is used to describe the beliefs and values of a community, nation, or ideology. Over the years, philosophers divided ethics into three major areas of study. These areas of study include meta-ethics, normative ethics and applied ethics. It is important for any PR professional to study ethics as much as possible, so they are able to make the right decision if they ever face an ethical dilemma in the workplace.
The topic of professionalism goes hand-in-hand with ethics, and it is important for all PR practitioners to remain professional at all times. The Webster’s dictionary defines professionalism as “the skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well.” The definition of professionalism is fairly simple to understand. In today’s world, those trained to do a specific job or educated in a specific field are usually held to a certain standard in the workplace. These people are expected to look, dress and behave in a way that is seen as “professional” by their peers and colleagues. When a person stays up to par with this professional standard, it will likely increase their overall success when looking for a job or carrying out tasks for a job they may already have.
When PR practitioners choose not to practice ethics and professionalism on the job, it usually results in hurting their organization or personal reputation. This is why it is important for everyone to conduct themselves professionally and make the right ethical decisions.


PR Tactics Worth Using and Evaluating

Working as students who are immersed in courses that highlight mass communication and public relations, I have noticed that PR tactics and channels are evolving as generations are continuing to develop. Social media is the more obvious example to this discussion, because we are in a society now where self-generated content has become normality and traditional news mediums have taken a backseat to newer platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. As the Account Liaison for Broad Magnolias, I have learned that a SWOT analysis is sometimes not enough. Other types of evaluations including a PR audit are also efficient when it comes to evaluating.

More specifically with Broad Magnolias, a PR tactic that I did not consider but feel is worth mentioning is to utilize your channels effectively. We had our research director produce press releases for our upcoming event, Housing the Arts, a silent auction we will host next week to raise awareness and funding. However, instead of creating direct press releases, it was advised to us last class to produce editorials that tie in with Youth Oasis and our organization. By composing editorials we would be remaining relevant and exposing ourselves and information to a broader audience.

Immediately after our first meeting with our client, Broad Magnolias began drafting an awareness survey to evaluate the local knowledge of Youth Oasis. Based on the results it can be concluded that not enough people know that the organization is only one of two in the entire state.

Youth Oasis does not consult media when hosting an event and we are hoping for a larger spanned audience because of such. Broad Magnolias will evaluate this based on our post-awareness survey, which will be distributed after our kickoff event, Housing the Arts. Going forward from our previous survey, our team will add more questions related to the specific event to gage if awareness was increased and also keep questions from the initial survey to determine how we should help Youth Oasis when it comes to communicating important facts about their organization to their publics.

As mentioned previously, we received great advice on editorials as well as tips regarding our GOST from our peers. A strong PR tactic is to communicate with the professionals around you; ask for advice, editing assistance and for contacts or general ideas. While this may not be an actual evaluation process, it allows for the same activity to take place.

While working with Youth Oasis, Broad Magnolias will prepare a social media strategy plan for the nonprofit organization. In the process of creating a strategy plan, an analysis of Youth Oasis’ current state is required. Youth Oasis currently has a Facebook and Twitter to complement their initial website. The latter deliverables mentioned are mediums for the Broad Magnolias to evaluate the three objectives Youth Oasis strives to achieve: awareness, acceptance and action.


PR Strategy Proves Vital to Youth Oasis Campaign

The word strategy is defined as “a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.” People and organizations all over the world develop strategies every day to help them achieve their personal or corporate objectives. The implementation of strategy for organizations plays a huge role in today’s bustling society, especially in the field of public relations. Knowing all this, I was very excited when I was assigned to the position of strategic director for Broad Magnolias.

Throughout this semester, I have learned quite a bit about strategic public relations and why it should be important to every organization who wants to better themselves and maintain a positive public image. It is obvious that a good public relations strategy, or lack thereof, can lead to the life or death of an organization.

There are many things that a good public relations strategy should do. A good PR strategy should encourage teamwork and effectiveness within an organization, as well as reinforce credibility. A good PR strategy should also help an organization achieve its’ corporate goals, whatever they may be. This could be to develop a better public image, raise awareness or simply make more money and grow as an organization.

At the beginning of this semester, it was made clear to us that the most important objective set aside by Youth Oasis was to raise awareness for their organization. The members of Broad Magnolias took this objective into account and created a plan that we believe will help raise as much awareness for Youth Oasis as possible. We have developed a strategy to help Youth Oasis achieve their goals as an organization while they continue to grow and flourish in the Baton Rouge community. I believe the strategy we developed for Youth Oasis will have long-lasting positive effects on the organization.

Earlier I mentioned that PR strategy should be important to all organizations. I believe this concept should be most prevalent in the world of nonprofits. In order for a nonprofit organization to function, they must maintain strong relationships with their supporters while trying their best to find new people willing to support their organization. They must continuously try to raise awareness for themselves and let their key public know what their goals are if they want the company to grow. Luckily, it’s not hard for an organization to achieve these goals when they have a good PR strategy backing them up. To learn more about the voice and message of Youth Oasis, reach out on Facebook andTwitter. And don’t forget to come back next week for another lesson learned in the Broad Magnolias campaign.