I joined the Twitterchat #smxchat tonight when the discussion was about transparency and integrity. A thorny subject for a Tuesday evening but one that is well worthy of an hour conversation or even a blog. It is still a surprise for me that these qualities are not valued as more important by brands, businesses and organisations. Sat alongside this is the important element of having a Code of Ethics for the public relations and communication industry.
Why is integrity and transparency important? For me it is all about trust, honesty and openness. In this 24 hour a day 7 day a week world of social media and rolling news there is no hiding place from the reality whatever that may be. If you lie or bend the truth then you can be sure at some point today, tomorrow or in the future you will be found out. When that happens you have lost integrity and have a long road ahead to regain trust.
I am still amazed by the fact that individuals and organisations haven’t recognised this and will often try to paper over problems. Transparency for me is all about treating people as adults, giving them the facts and then letting them make their own mind up. You can say something is the case again and again until you are blue in the face but if that doesn’t match up to what you experience then your effort is not only wasted but it could be damaging. If you know the real situation then why not explain that to people.
The reputation of the public relations professional and the communication industry is at risk if we don’t demonstrate the importance of a code of ethics to the work every day. We need to explain what we do and how we operate to avoid the negative views that surround us. For me it is time for ethics, integrity and transparency to step into the spotlight for all companies and brands.