We Take PRide

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Posted At: March 5, 2013 6:20 P.M.
by Gillian Richard

I wasn’t at the round table when members of The University of Alabama’s PRSSA chapter decided we would implement the hashtag #takePRide. I don’t know the exact motive for choosing it, but I can take a good guess.

It takes motivation to do what we do. It takes hard work, dedication and a commitment to ethical behavior. For some reason, our profession doesn’t always get the respect it deserves. People may miss the nobility in it, but we don’t. We’re PRoud.

This is a career path that requires not only a specialized skill set, but also a specialized set of personality traits. Of course, we all aspire to know every in and out of AP style and how to best pitch a story to a journalist, but our profession is much deeper than that.

HILEAF, the acronym for PRSA’s code of ethics, symbolizes what we stand for: honesty, independence, loyalty, expertise, advocacy and fairness. Here at The University of Alabama, we take it upon ourselves to add pride to that list. Each of the values apply not only to how we represent our companies, but also to our profession.

Honesty has to be at the forefront of everything we do. If we don’t make it a priority, we have the potential to hurt our companies and the broader PR world. Our image must be positive, or people will give us the dreaded title of “spin doctors.” This value has a direct relationship with fairness. Being dishonest isn’t fair to the groups of hard-working people we represent, whether that group is a company who pays us or the other members of our PR community.

Independence and expertise also correlate, and knowing what we’re doing is how we prove our worth to the companies we work for. We show our value by producing promised results, regardless of who the audience may be.

Loyalty to a company is crucial in public relations, especially in a time of crisis. Despite our best efforts, things still happen. It is our job to stand with our company, whatever the circumstances are.

As PR practitioners, we’re advocates for our clients, but also for our industry. How do we know if we’re effectively promoting our profession? We uphold the HILEAF values like it’s our job, because it is. We take PRide.

2 Comments

  1. Jacquie McMahon

    I love this summary of HILEAF, something all public relations practitioners need to know and exercise. I was a member of the group who created the theme “Take PRide,” and I’ve been happy to see its warm reception by my peers. At The University of Alabama, we take pride in the many successes of our department because of our strong work ethic and moral values. Our chapter of PRSSA is one of the few alpha chapters of the society and greatly respected across the country.

    This post correlates with the quiz on ethics that we took at our last PRSSA meeting. Through one of the tougher questions, we learned that the group benefitting the most from good ethics in PR is the professionals themselves (as opposed to society or the client).

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  2. Will Edwards

    Great read Gillian. It is interesting that a field of work that is focused on creating and maintaining public images for its clients has a difficult time with its own image. Due to some bad apples, particularly early in PR’s inception, we have played the game of catch-up with our public persona. It is based partly on the fact that when people hear the words “public relations” they look for the double meaning in what we are saying and assume that something is being “spun.” As PR practitioners, I think it should be our focus to not only not have a spin on the truth, but to make sure that our publics KNOW that there is no spin. In time, hopefully the image will change through an organized practice of HILEAF principles and swift condemnation of untruthful campaigns.

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