By: Nikki Mikolon
Ethics is discussed every day whether it is specified as “ethics.” Plain and simple, ethics is just doing the right thing, and most importantly, doing the right thing when no one is looking.
Public relations practitioners have been condemned for years for being “spin doctors.” For as long as practitioners have been called this, they have been trying to break the stigma.
According to Scott M. Cutlip and Glen M. Broom, the authors of Effective Public Relations, PR is defined as, “The management function that establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the publics on whom its successes and failures depends.”
Basically, it is a PR practitioner’s job to communicate the goals, successes and failures of the company that he or she represents to the public. That means telling the truth! There is nothing worse than lying to your audience or consumers.
For example, Samsung recently recalled their Galaxy Note 7 phones because they were exploding from the new lithium batteries in the phone. Instead of trying to lie or worm their way out of giving customers a new phone or dealing with the phones on their own, Samsung simply fessed up to what was happening.
Samsung realized they had produced something that was not functioning in the way they wanted it to or how they designed it to be. The best thing to do in this situation was exactly what Samsung did. They admitted that there was a problem and they came up with a solution.
For all of its customers who had purchased the recalled Galaxy Note 7, Samsung allowed retailers that sold the phones to their customers to provide them with replacements for the recalled phones, while Samsung developed a solution.
Samsung’s decision to recall their phones and find the right solution to their mistake was the ethical thing to do.
Ethical business behaviors lead to customer loyalty. Ultimately, businesses are searching for customers along with customer loyalty. Telling the truth and behaving ethically can help companies do this.
In the end, when you run into gray areas and don’t know what to do, always remember—just do the right thing.
Nikki Mikolon is a senior majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing. As a Detroit native, she hopes to spend her beginning years working for the city and being a part of its renaissance. Connect with Nikki on Twitter @nikkimikolon.