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.