By Anica Oaks

According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), there are basic core values that every company should follow. These include the ethical standards of honesty, expertise, advocacy and fairness.

Honesty

Honesty and accuracy are the foundation of successful public relation communications. Therefore, companies should publicly share and privately report identical information. They should avoid publicly minimizing or exaggerating PR information. Companies should clearly define the methods and metrics before attempting to measure PR campaigns.

In addition to this, PR measurement changes must be first communicated to relevant parties for approval. This is important because sometimes companies quietly adjust PR campaigns or measurements in order to obtain favorable public results.

Expertise

PR departments, and even sales and marketing, often over-rely on vague research statistics or professional credentials to legitimize their key points. PR information must be based on facts gleaned from research that uses scientific data collection and assessment methodologies. These facts should be generally supported by the majority of industry experts.

PR expertise must be based on the highest levels of industrial, academic and business standards. In addition to this, PR professionals must continue their education in order to maintain their credibility and competence. For example, prospective PR professionals should consider pursuing higher education related to public relations, whether that means a bachelor’s or master’s in public relations.

Advocacy

PR professionals serve the public interest through responsibly representing and advocating for their clients. This means that they provide a legitimate voice of reason in a complex media marketplace full of contrasting ideas and viewpoints. For example, a food manufacturing company that produces ingredients used by fast food chains will naturally receive public criticism concerning health issues. However, the company must advocate for the positive points of their business activities, even if some employees or managers agree with the critics.

Fairness

Fairness plays a continual role in PR management. However, it is one of the most difficult standards to maintain. This is because the company may have a contrasting view over sensitive PR issues. For example, many health advocate groups point out that fast food is generally unhealthy. In contrast, consumers on a lower socio-economic level with limited budgets can only afford cheaper food. However, the company should respect all viewpoints, encourage democratic debate and support the right of free expression.

Ethics standards are the foundation of professional PR programs. PR information should be accurately and honestly shared. PR professionals should be objective advocates and encourage fairness in all PR activities.

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.