InsightsPOSTED March 13, 2015

Tell the truth, from the beginning

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For March, the APEX team is exploring the best communication advice ever.

Often times, as PR practitioners, we get a bad rap.

We can be referred to as spin doctors or perceived as shady, and the fact is, for most practitioners that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The truth is, not telling the truth is costly in PR.

Especially as it relates to brand and reputation management. Think about how frequently you’ve heard a story in the news; one account is given, and then as more of the story gets out, it gets worse and worse.

Every time I read about a situation like this, I remember a line from an old employer’s mission statement:

“Speak the truth with candor.”

Don’t you ever just scratch your head and wonder why company X or person Y didn’t just tell the truth? You aren’t alone.

Understanding that sometimes “just tell the truth” isn’t always that easy, it is always better than the alternative.

As it relates to brand management, this isn’t to say that your audience or consumers won’t still be angry, but they will be angrier and less likely to forgive you once they have been lied to.

Cases like this always underscore to me the importance both of inviting PR practitioners to sit at the table and listening to the counsel they provide. We can’t always prevent crises from happening, but if trusted, we can help right the course. 

Shawna Kaye Vassel is an account coordinator at APEX. What communication advice do you have? Let us know here or on Twitter. Also check out what others said.