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Why Honesty and Integrity Are Essential in Business From PR Perspective

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As a public relations (PR) professional, I know how crucial honesty and integrity are in all aspects of business operations and management. Yes, PR is often seen in a negative light. While that might be true because the role of PR includes damage control, we have other functions that include adding value to communities and clients. Irrespective of the misconceptions, a PR professional may know better than anyone why “honesty and integrity” are fundamental in business because of our public- and customer-facing role. In this piece, I’ll discuss eight reasons from a PR perspective.

The PR Perspective on  Honesty and Integrity in Business

In my experience as a PR professional, here’s why honesty and integrity are essential in business.

1. Assists in Nurturing Relationships

In today’s business world, transparency is a vital ingredient in gaining and retaining customers. Using PR to own a mistake can help a brand come back from a crisis. Owning it through PR helps the public and your customers to understand what happened (and how you are fixing it) in an unbiased way so they will feel more comfortable supporting your brand going forward. You might think, “Why should I bring more attention to something negative?” I’ll say that it’s better to be open to your customers because they can make or mar your brand, and people are more likely to continue the relationship with a transparent brand than one who tries to cover up their mistakes.

2. Builds Trust and Credibility

Honesty and integrity are the basis of trust and credibility. Trust is an indispensable piece of any successful PR campaign. Without trust, stakeholders will hesitate to engage with the organization, and the PR campaign might fail, which, in turn, can hurt the business.

PR experts can build trust and credibility with their audience by, again, being transparent with stakeholders. These qualities can lead to increased engagement, positive media coverage, and, ultimately, increased success for the organization.

3. Helps Maintain a Positive Brand Reputation 

Reputation is everything in business, and a positive one can take years to build but can be destroyed in an instant. As a PR professional, I must ensure the brand is promoted in an honest, precise, and consistent way across all channels. Any deviation from this can lead to a negative perception of the organization and damage its reputation. 

4. Boosts Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty is critical to the success of any organization. Customers and stakeholders loyal to a brand are more likely to engage with it, purchase its products or services, and recommend it to others. When customers and stakeholders feel they can trust a business, this is much easier to achieve from a PR perspective.

5. Reduces Legal and Ethical Risks

PR professionals must navigate complex legal and ethical issues when managing communication between an organization and its stakeholders. These qualities are critical for reducing legal and ethical risks. 

They can reduce the risk of legal and ethical violations by ensuring that all communication is straightforward. That can protect the organization from lawsuits, negative media coverage, and damage to brand reputation.

6. Boosts Employee Morale and Productivity

Honesty and integrity are as essential internally with employees as externally with the public and customers. In fact, a report by Gallup states that America loses about $450 billion to $550 billion each year due to employee disengagement. 

On the other hand, employees who feel that their management has these qualities are likely to have higher morale and productivity. This leads to higher employee retention as well. Your PR team can help with this with consistent internal communications and by helping to create a culture of open communication between management and employees. 

7. Attracts Top Talent

Similarly to boosting morale and productivity, a business that demonstrates honesty and integrity is more likely to attract top talent. These employees want to work for a firm that aligns with their values and is committed to ethical practices.

8. Makes a More Positive Impact on the World

Businesses that operate with honesty and integrity are more likely to contribute to their communities and the world around them in a positive way. From a PR perspective, this type of impact can be publicized not only to help boost brand credibility, reputation, and loyalty but also to encourage others to take action and increase awareness regarding social issues. 

Promoting Honesty and Integrity in Your Business

PR professionals can help show how much your business values honesty and integrity. On the other side of the coin, PR professionals need to prioritize honesty and integrity in their own work as well by upholding strict moral standards and adhering to the Code of Ethics set by the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America). 

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