Ethics of PR: Balancing Business Goals with Truthfulness & Transparency

Have you ever been entangled in a dilemma where truth, transparency, and business goals have stood face to face? Must have. This scenario is part and parcel of being a PR and Communications professional. While organisations strive to strike a balance, at times, sugar-coating the truth and omitting finer details becomes a compelling option. This mainly happens not out of a desire to conceal something but rather because the firm doesn’t want to risk being vulnerable in front of stakeholders and customers, as it could potentially impact its brand reputation.

Hence, from my experience in the business, I believe that it is not viable to suppress the facts. This can be more detrimental than doing good for the brand value of the firm. Although it may initially seem like being on a sticky wicket at first, to achieve the runs on the board or business goals in this case, staying true to the core value is the key. Therefore, it is crucial to strike a careful balance between truthfulness and transparency to accomplish business objectives and sustain success. So, let’s find out the benefits of following the ethics of PR-

  • Improves Brand Value 

In an era characterised by easy access to information, the prevalence of social media, and journalism taking the form of reporting, concealing the truth becomes increasingly challenging. In fact, such attempts are risky and can result in public exposure, leading to backlash, a break in trust, and thus, harming brand reputation. Therefore, organisations should prioritise transparency and openness to safeguard and enhance brand value. This approach not only demonstrates accountability but also strengthens relationships with stakeholders and bolsters credibility. In fact, it is considered a powerful way to turn customers into loyalists. Conversely, efforts to conceal or manipulate the truth often result in negative consequences.

  • Helps during crisis communication

A crisis situation is the real testing ground for an organisation. During trying times such as product recalls, environmental incidents, or public rumours, the importance of truthfulness and transparency is heightened. In such situations, providing accurate and timely information, acknowledging mistakes or shortcomings, and showcasing the ability to navigate difficulties and overcome obstacles demonstrate resilience, adaptability, and a sense of accountability. This approach mitigates potential damage and allows for effective crisis management. Thus, by following ethical guidelines, PR professionals can navigate challenging situations, rebuild trust with stakeholders, and work towards finding sustainable solutions. This, thereby, contributes to the organisation’s long-term success.

  • Attract talent

To attract highly skilled professionals to an organisation, it is as much the responsibility of PR professionals as the human resources team to place honesty at the forefront of their communication. By openly sharing objectives, vision, and goals, companies can provide potential talent with a clear understanding of expectations, helping them align their efforts towards it. This, in turn, promotes employee retention and contributes to the overall success of both the organisation and the employees. It, moreover, fosters positive relationships.

  • Respecting confidentiality and privacy

Privacy is a crucial aspect of any organisation, and it is even more vital for PR professionals. This is mainly because they have the visibility to confidential information, data, growth plans, customer and partner details, etc., to streamline communication for the firm or department. Hence, honouring and protecting confidentiality is essential, even without a legally binding non-disclosure agreement. This will demonstrate integrity, professionalism and fosters trust while maintaining the reputation of ethical conduct.

To conclude, the ethics of PR propagates to be responsible for representing their organisations accurately and ethically while promoting their interests. The winning combination is always balancing business goals with truthfulness and transparency. This can involve developing clear communication guidelines, which is the premise of this field and fostering a culture of righteousness and integrity. The recent incidents of Adani Industries serve as reminders of how a negative report can damage the organisation’s reputation and overturn its growth trajectory. So, be cautious as every word spoken or written carries weight, and even a single mistake or denial can have significant consequences, potentially turning the business upside down.


The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Geetika Bangia
Geetika Bangia is a story teller and true believer in story living professional with 18+ years of experience in the industries such as consumer durables, auto motives and healthcare. Geetika is a performance driven Communications leader offering rich & prolific exposure in the realm of PR, Corporate Communications, CRM and mitigation of Crisis Management, who has strengthened the core of business that I have been associated with and delivered the objective of connecting the brand to its target audience.

1 Comment on "Ethics of PR: Balancing Business Goals with Truthfulness & Transparency"

  1. Well, this is one of best pieces I read with different perspective.

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