Even today, honesty is still the best policy

Posted On September 20, 2018

In this age of instantaneous and global communication, where a lie or a bad review can travel, as they say, halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on, how does a business control its own message?

Our guest in this episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston” is Kinnon Phillips, an accredited public relations professional who is experienced with crisis communications and what to do when the weight of the world – and the worldwide web – is crashing down on your business’ reputation.

Social media is now our “town square,” Phillips says, and “word of mouth” takes on a whole new level of power when it can be spread exponentially through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Yelp.

So what do you do when bad news about your business starts spreading like digital wildfire?

Face it head on, Phillips says. Engage with the offended public, admit any mistakes you or your business have made and share how you plan to correct them.

“A lot of my practice is about teaching and talking to people about common sense, the way we hope we were raised, how we raise our children, about taking responsibility, about thinking before you act, about having some sort of plan in anything you do in life,” Phillips says. “The problem is people don’t think it’s important all the time, as to how they communicate.

“You change your reputation and improve it by changing your behavior, being honest, and communicating effectively with some sort of credibility, and that comes from, as we talked about, people want to hear an apology.”

Honesty and humility tend to make people more forgiving. After all, we all love comeback stories. Aren’t we all pulling for Tiger Woods, for instance, to regain – even for a brief moment – the dominance he once displayed on the golf course?

The question must be asked, however: Is it different now, at a time when it seems the winning strategy in politics is to deny, deny, deny, to attack the messenger as biased, agenda-driven or naïve instead of accepting responsibility or admitting fault for anything? Has the prescription changed?

Phillips thinks not. “I still think when it comes to a business, to act that way is going to not be good to your business,” he says. “If you stall, if you don’t answer or if you act with disregard for the market, all of those things are not, to me, positive for sales. We’re talking about buying something versus supporting something.”

Join us to hear more of Phillips’ ideas about how to tell your own story, protect your reputation and control your message in the social media age.

Categories: Advertising, Entrepreneurship, Podcast