Recently there has been lots of debate and discussion about how to define public relations, and a lack of agreement about what it should be. I am not going to attempt a definition but recent days have reconnected me with my roots. My week has been challenging but it re-emphasised to me that the most important thing is reputation.
Whether it is organisational reputation or individual reputation without a positive one there is no confidence, people will not want to buy your product or service, and no one will want to be associated with you. When I first started in PR, the importance of reputation was something that was drummed into me as critical on a daily basis. Over the years I have seen its importance in everything I have done.
Building a positive reputation takes time, clear strategies and a commitment. Maintaining a positive reputation is probably harder and requires skill, hard work but still a clear strategy about what you are and want to be. It is about doing things every day that help to build and maintain the reputation of our organisations. Even when we face difficulties and negative situations that can threaten reputation, it is the organisational response that can still protect the reputation.
Losing a good reputation can take minutes or even seconds. One incident, one lack of judgement, one failure of service, and a poor response to things can all have long lasting effects. As organisations, it can then be a long road back, and in some cases such as Ratners there may be no way back. But protecting reputation is as important for us as individuals.
In the fast, modern world where social media has allowed individuals to network having a positive reputation is essential. The blurring of the personal and business world has occurred and we are all doing more that moves between the two. One tweet, post or photograph can have a devastating impact on an individual’s reputation. This is something that has existed before but never has it had the global viewers. Whether it is your boss, prospective employers, colleagues, peers seeing something it can create an impression that you would not want.
While PR may be about an organisation’s positive reputation we should never forget that with every blog, tweet or posting that we do we can either improve or damage our own reputation.