Club Communicators Facebook Vs Google: PR How Far

With Facebook admitting that it hired PR services to target Google the controversy over using PR tools rages all over again. According to The Guardian, London, Burson-Marsteller’s former UK chairman has described the smear tactics employed against Google as “furtive and creepy” and the PR executives involved in the campaign were “shadowy, backstreet spin merchants”.

My questions to forum are:
1. How far can PR processionals go in promoting their clients’ interests?
2. Is it right and professional to disrobe the clients’ opposition?
3. Do we need a code of conduct for ethical PR practices?
4. Can PR professionals let themselves to be used as hired guns?
5. Moreover, is it  not the responsibility of media professionals as well to check as to what they doing or writing by falling prey to certain negative ideas and disinformation or misinformation tactics being employed by PR professionals
 
How far – let us debate even at the risk of inviting ire from some.
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7 comments on “Club Communicators Facebook Vs Google: PR How Far

  1. Very pertinent questions.

    When did PR not do any of these, and much more.

    US Presidency campaigns have always resorted to all kinds of PR tools (and we need to talk about PR in the Western world since PR as a concept has been borrowed from those countries into India. Well, well, well, now the ‘borrowing’ part is itself debatable)
    Coke and Pepsi have done it historically — and no PR professional working for these companies will like to admit it
    Chocolate companies — Erstwhile Cadbury’s and Nestle (remember Perk v/s KitKat ambush marketing and PR) — nothing different
    Telecom fights — it is the same story (2G scam and Nira Radia saga is testimony to this)
    Rio Tinto and BHP — again the issues and on a much larger scale (mining is big monies at stake)
    Washing powders, refrigerator, A/cs, video games, the list can go on and on
    And media has always been part of the game — inadvertently or other wise. Without media, there is no PR, forget the ethical or unethical part :)

    I think in the case of Facebook v/s Google, all of us PR guys are finding it difficult to digest as ‘consumers’ that my darling brand Facebook did this to my another darling brand Google.

    cheers!

    Bakul
    9833551944
    9004649996

  2. 1. How far can PR processionals go in promoting their clients’ interests?
    As far as they need to go.

    2. Is it right and professional to disrobe the clients’ opposition?
    Yes.. if the data is genuine and client’s opposition is doing something wrong.

    3. Do we need a code of conduct for ethical PR practices?
    Yes. We also need a regulatory body which sets benchmarks and oversees.

    4. Can PR professionals let themselves to be used as hired guns?
    I am sure each agency has its due diligence procedure of accepting a client and the kind of work they will do.

    5. Moreover, is it not the responsibility of media professionals as well to check as to what they doing or writing by falling prey to certain negative ideas and disinformation or misinformation tactics being employed by PR professionals/

    Most media get their stories like this. I guess their responsibility is to verify the facts.

    Regards,
    Mahesh Anand

  3. Well, I think :

    1. How far can PR processionals go in promoting their clients’ interests?

    Be aggressive as you can. But do not cross the limits. Business with ethics is difficult,but not impossible.

    2. Is it right and professional to disrobe the clients’ opposition?

    Be sure that you are doodh ka dhula only then.! Otherwise you are just opening a can of worms in your backyard.

    3. Do we need a code of conduct for ethical PR practices?

    Yes. We also need a regulatory body which sets benchmarks.

    4. Can PR professionals let themselves to be used as hired guns?

    A true winner need not bribe anyone! If you are worthy of it, you will get it anyways, even if a little late!

    5. Moreover, is it not the responsibility of media professionals as well to check as to what they doing or writing by falling prey to certain negative ideas and disinformation or misinformation tactics being employed by PR professionals/

    We do not live in ram rajya. But it is essential for us to verify our facts.

    Regards,
    Deepika

  4. 1. How far can PR processionals go in promoting their clients’ interests?
    As far as they need to go.

    2. Is it right and professional to disrobe the clients’ opposition?
    Yes.. if the data is genuine and client’s opposition is doing something wrong.

    3. Do we need a code of conduct for ethical PR practices?
    Yes. We also need a regulatory body which sets benchmarks and oversees.

    4. Can PR professionals let themselves to be used as hired guns?
    I am sure each agency has its due diligence procedure of accepting a client and the kind of work they will do.

    5. Moreover, is it not the responsibility of media professionals as well to check as to what they doing or writing by falling prey to certain negative ideas and disinformation or misinformation tactics being employed by PR professionals/

    Most media get their stories like this. I guess their responsibility is to verify the facts.

    Regards,
    Mahesh Anand

  5. Yeh Dil Maangey More…Come on members…express yourselves!! (no holds barred…this is a democratic forum..but no names please!!).

    bnk

  6. 1. How far can PR processionals go in promoting their clients’ interests?

    as far as it takes, as long as you are at peace with yourself.
    2. Is it right and professional to disrobe the clients’ opposition?

    sure thing. but only if you can control it or atleast have a measure of control.

    3. Do we need a code of conduct for ethical PR practices?

    we should and we could but whats to ensure that it would be followed? often we work in the gray areas and its difficult t determine ethics in black and white.

    4. Can PR professionals let themselves to be used as hired guns?

    aren’t we seduced by the concept? after all at some point of our careers we’ve initiated stories where we’ve portrayed our client/s in a more flattering light as compared to competitors. we would draw the line (and i hope we do) somewhere, but a blanket NO to practice … would we do it?

    5. Moreover, is it not the responsibility of media professionals as well to check as to what they doing or writing by falling prey to certain negative ideas and disinformation or misinformation tactics being employed by PR professionals/

    their falling prey = our convincing argument.


    Ritam Chakrabarty
    +91 9833294111

  7. My responses…!!

    1. How far can PR processionals go in promoting their clients’ interests?

    Anything to achieve the objective, but without being unfair at any point of time. That is my policy. But being fair does not mean that I would let anyone get away with anything. Being fair is also giving it back in the same way, manner or trick. But it will always be reactive from me. In wouldn’t start treachery, but I will definitely give it back.

    Having said that, if every professional decides to follow just one rule — fairness, then I think most of the mess will be avoided.

    2. Is it right and professional to disrobe the clients’ opposition?

    Only if certain things need to be brought out in the open, things that are unfair or dishonest to public, competition or the industry at large.

    3. Do we need a code of conduct for ethical PR practices?

    Yes we do. The details can be fine tuned and aptly worded but the guiding principle must be fairness and honesty.

    4. Can PR professionals let themselves to be used as hired guns?

    PR professionals have always be hired guns. No one else can do it better than them. Call it trouble shooting or firefighting, we’ve always taken care of crisis after it has happened, and better still, done things to avert crisis from happening at all. Again, there’s no harm in being hired guns, but it must be controlled by that golden rule — fairness.

    5. Moreover, is it not the responsibility of media professionals as well to check as to what they doing or writing by falling prey to certain negative ideas and disinformation or misinformation tactics being employed by PR professionals

    Media is equally at fault. 10 out of 10 journalists can clearly make out a corporate or brand war. But they still do those stories. In fact, these stories get more prominence than the regular ones. Why? Because they’re more juicy and get more eye balls. What’s more, one such story gets into a spate of reactions from competition and follow up stories, keeping the media spaces jam packed for weeks. And the first one to write on it gets a pat on the back by the boss and his/her name goes into the annals of short-lived history. As a reporter, what more can you want?!
    Now that’s for the media to change, and I doubt if we, the PR professionals would want to start cleaning up their backyards. We already have lots to do in our industry. Some beautification, some cleaning.

    Cheers!

    Aarif Malik
    Mumbai. INDIA.
    Cell: +91 9833934002

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