Public Relations and Ethics
96 views | +0 today
Follow
Public Relations and Ethics
My insight on ethical public relations relating to specific cases.
Curated by Anniston Henk
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Anniston Henk
Scoop.it!

Gap sets an example of how to prepare for crisis

Gap sets an example of how to prepare for crisis | Public Relations and Ethics | Scoop.it
When someone tweeted a picture of an ad covered with racist graffiti to the clothing company, it hopped to action, replacing the ad with a fresh one.
Anniston Henk's insight:
I think that so often it is easy to concentrate on the “bad” public relations and I actually find PR blunders more interesting than PR success stories, but this is a great example of good PR. Gap was able to respond in a fast and appropriate way. They recognized the opportunity for possible problems involving this ad and had a plan if crisis was to arise. Gap turned a possible crisis into a success and positive thing for their brand. Hopefully examples like this will show other PR professionals that it isn’t difficult to be prepared and have a plan for possible crisis. Gap not only responded well to a potential crisis but they also did everything right ethically. Many brands do not care to replace ads that have been vandalized because it would be hassle for them. I think that Gap did the right thing since there were racial slurs posted on their ad. Gap technically had no obligation to replace the ads but they went out of their way to make sure that nobody was offended by what was written on their ad. I think that is a great example of what social responsibility is and how it should be used by public relations professionals. On page 246 Guth and Marsh state, “Social contract theory essentially says that we’re all in this together, so if you treat me well, I’ll treat you well. If we fail to do so, we reduce our society to chaos.” Gap replaced an ad that they were not obligated to do so, so that nobody would be offended by what was written on the ad. I think this is something that people are going to remember and it will put Gap in a positive light. I think that anytime a business does something that they are not obligated to do it grabs the public’s attention. I do not understand why more businesses do not do this because it isn’t very time or money consuming. Very simple gestures go a long way when it comes to corporations. All Gap did was have a plan in case of crisis, act promptly on social media and quickly replace a vandalized ad. This is a simple solution that earned gap positive media coverage and positive conversation on social media. Not only is it simple to be prepared and respond quickly, but it is also the right thing to do.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Anniston Henk
Scoop.it!

Microsoft makes products making fun of Google

Microsoft makes products making fun of Google | Public Relations and Ethics | Scoop.it
Mugs, t-shirts and hats bearing Google Chrome logos and assertions that the search company steals users’ data may be doing Microsoft more harm than good.
Anniston Henk's insight:
Is it ethical to put down another company to make your own company look better? I have heard both sides of this debate in my marketing classes, but I personally do not think it is ethical or very effective. Microsoft clearly does not share my opinion because of the line of products they have made to “put down” Google. Not only is it unethical, but this has also been very ineffective marketing for Microsoft. Instead of benefiting Microsoft it ended up backfiring and making them look poorly inste ad of Google. On page 246 Guth and Marsh state, “Social contract theory essentially says that we’re all in this together, so if you treat me well, I’ll treat you well. If we fail to do so, we reduce our society to chaos.” I think that when a company says negative things about one of their competitors it is violating their social responsibility because they aren’t treating their competitors fairly. I think that a part of social responsibility is treating others how you would want to be treated and I do not think that Microsoft would want Google making products making fun of them. I think that this product line has only made Microsoft look bad because a lot of people do love Google and I don’t think that it is as widely hated as Microsoft assumes. I also do not understand why they made products trying to “put down” Google. Do people really hate Google enough to put a product on their body making fun of Google? I just can’t help but think not many people would pay or wear those products. I think that this whole campaign made Microsoft look very stupid because nobody seems to be showing interest in purchasing their products. Since Google did not do anything to retaliate against Microsoft it shows that Google is unconcerned or threatened by Microsoft. It also shows that Google has a better grasp on social responsibility than Microsoft. On page 243 Guth and Marsh state, “If we deliberately refuse to consider long-term ramifications, short-term thinking may be more of a problem of denial than ignorance.” I think that Microsoft did not consider the long term problems that could arise because of these products. Microsoft employees are embarrassed about this campaign and that could cause them to lose pride in their job and become unmotivated. It also makes Microsoft look bad because they started firing negative things about Google when Google has said nothing negative about them.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Anniston Henk
Scoop.it!

Wikipedia's editorial staff has another ethical blunder

Wikipedia's editorial staff has another ethical blunder | Public Relations and Ethics | Scoop.it
Not only is the site facing gender diversity issues, it has also taken disciplinary action over some top editors’ approach to transgender people.
Anniston Henk's insight:

There are a lot of ethical issues within this entire case and it is very ethically dangerous situation. I can understand why the editors at Wikipedia may be angry, but I do not understand why they are attacking Chelsea’s sexual orientation. I do not think that her sexuality is something that is ethically okay to attack. I would understand the anger they have because of the crimes committed, but that does not justify the sexism comments or the editors making public comments. Wikipedia has had ethical issues with their editorial staff before and that is something they need to address. It seems Wikipedia has not learned from their ethical mistakes and they do not have control of the situation.

Guth and Marsh state, “A good organizational ethics code clearly specifies the values that unite the organization, that guide its ideas an actions” on page 244. I think this is where Wikipedia’s problems are because they are allowing ethical issues to arise in their staff. They need to figure out what their ethical codes are and enforce them in their staff. I think that these ethical problems with the editorial staff could potentially cause credibility issues with Wikipedia. When their editorial staff is making ethically risky comments to the public they are opening the door for credibility problems. The public could dismiss the editorial staff as uneducated and prejudice when they make comments like that.

The comments made were without a question unethical and offensive to many. I think the fact that Wikipedia isn’t really doing anything to offer corrective action regarding the prejudice comments is unethical. I think that the comments would not only offend Chelsea, but also others like Chelsea. Readers that relate to Chelsea will think that the editorial staff at Wikipedia would make the same comments about them. There needs to be an apology and the comments should be removed. Staff that makes comments like that should also be punished. The staff clearly does not think they will be punished for this kind of behavior. Wikipedia needs to improve these ethical problems that keep arising with their editorial staff and put a stop to it.

The editorial staff is clearly unethical in the comments that the make, but Wikipedia is also unethical for allowing it to happen. Since Wikipedia is not doing anything to correct the problem it appears that they see nothing wrong with the comments. There are a lot of internal ethical problems that need to be addressed at Wikipedia.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Anniston Henk
Scoop.it!

A scheduled tweet by Seamless causes ethical issues

A scheduled tweet by Seamless causes ethical issues | Public Relations and Ethics | Scoop.it
The brand’s attempt to stress the importance of Guacamole Day instead prompted calls of insensitivity in the wake of Colorado floods and a horrific mass shooting. Watch those scheduled tweets, folks.
Anniston Henk's insight:

Social media is a very powerful tool for public relations professionals and has opened many doors of opportunity. Social media has also opened the door for new public relation mistakes and a whole new set of ethics to abide by. Seamless seems to be falling behind in the social media aspect of public relations, but also falls short when it comes to appropriate apologies. I think that Seamless violated an ethical code when allowing that tweet to go viral in such a tragic time. Seamless also violated an ethical code when not offering a corrective action or proper apology for the tweet. 

 

On page 244 Guth and Marsh state, “engage in communication that is not only legal but also ethical and sensitive to cultural values and beliefs” this quote comes from an insert of the PRSA code of ethics. Seamless tried to engage in conversation with the public via Twitter and what they stated was legal, but in no way was it sensitive to cultural values and beliefs. Seamless did not consider the current tragedies that were taking place in the nation. Seamless claims that the tweet was composed prior to the tragedies and it was a scheduled tweet. This could very well be true, but Seamless needed to have somebody responsible for reviewing the scheduled tweets for that day to be sure there will be no conflict. This could have very easily been prevented if somebody had checked to see what tweets were going out that day. Scheduled tweets should be reviewed daily, but special consideration should be taken when there are tragedies taking place.

 

Seamless did not offer an appropriate apology for this tweet. Seamless did make a few apologies directly to people who tweeted them complaining, but I do not think that was good enough. I think that it would have been a better idea for Seamless to respond to The Huffington Post because that would have given them an opportunity to offer and apology and corrective action. Seamless could have convinced the public that it was truly an accident, but instead they look like they have something to hide. I think that transparency is a great way to repair a reputation after a crisis.

 

Social media reaches very large amounts of people very quickly, this is why extra precautions must be taken when using social media. Seamless made a big mistake that could have very easily been prevented.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Anniston Henk
Scoop.it!

Pax Dickinson fired from Business Insider...finally

Pax Dickinson fired from Business Insider...finally | Public Relations and Ethics | Scoop.it
This week, Business Insider fired its "brogrammer" CTO, Pax Dickinson, after media outlets shed light his repeated racist, sexist and homophobic tweets. But why did it take a public outcry for the publication to let him go?
Anniston Henk's insight:

This article asks the question of why it took so long for Business Insider to fire Pax Dickinson. I think that is very reasonable question to ask. Why would a company put up with inappropriate tweets by one of their well-known employees for such a long time? I would naturally assume that the company did not know about the tweets, but they did know the whole time. Obviously Dickinson’s prejudice tweets are very unethical, but I find it unethical for Business Insider to be aware of the tweets and have no corrective action. I have no idea if the PR team had any power in controlling Dickinson’s tweets or giving him repercussions, but if they did I believe it was unethical for them to observe his tweets and do nothing. After all the damage Dickinson has brought to himself I would think he would need his own personal PR team to help repair his image.

Multiple Ethics codes were violated in this specific case. Personal, organizational, professional and societal codes were all broken in my opinion. I believe the professionals at Business Insider that were aware of Dickinson’s tweets were probably breaking their own personal ethical codes by not doing anything to correct the wrongs.  On page 244 of our book states, “A good organizational ethics codes clearly specifies the values that unite the organization, that guide its ideas and actions”. I would assume that Business Insider’s organizational ethic code does not condone prejudice of any kind. Professional codes were without a doubt broken in this case. According to page 244 of our book, “IABC’s code reflects that organization’s international standing: The code urges members to ‘engage in communication that is not only legal but also ethical and sensitive to cultural values and beliefs’”.  The communication Dickinson was engaging in was not following any professional code. By Business Insider allowing unprofessional communication to happen they were also being unprofessional. Societal codes reflect the values of nations and cultures. Societal codes were broken because Dickinson was insulting many cultures by showing prejudice on his Twitter account.

I think that this has gone too far and Business Insider should have fired Dickinson after the first unethical tweets. I think by waiting three years to take any action and fire Dickinson they have brought a lot of negative media to their company. Dickinson is the most unethical person in this case. Tweeting prejudice remarks is not ethical on any level.

more...
Deanna Moore's curator insight, September 26, 2013 9:23 PM

Pat Dickinson should have been fired a long tiem ago for his misconduct over the media. Its crazy that from a business prospective he didn't believe what he was doing was wrong, and thats not okay. Its unethical to think you can get away with saying what you want and hurting innocent people in the process. The business isnt innocent either, they should have been montoring the what Pat was saying and making sure that he was being professional, im glad they let him go, he was a liability to the company.

Scooped by Anniston Henk
Scoop.it!

University of Michigan responds to student complaints

University of Michigan responds to student complaints | Public Relations and Ethics | Scoop.it
A group at the University of Michigan began using the hashtag #BBUM to discuss how black students are treated. The campaign soon extended well beyond that one school.
Anniston Henk's insight:
I think this article speaks volumes about the power social media has today. I think that this was a positive thing for the University of Michigan because they gave students a platform to speak about their personal stories and struggles. University of Michigan did not try to avoid conversation they knew may not be positive, but instead they embraced the comments so that they can make improvements. University was not ignorant to believe that there are no problems on their campus but instead they wanted to know about the problems so that they could help their students feel more appreciated and comfortable. I think that this was a huge risk for University of Michigan to take and I think that it could have potentially gone very wrong. University of Michigan responded to the tweets very appropriately and proved to their students that they were listening to what they were saying. Although this hashtag was not produced by the University of Michigan they still responded to it as if it was. They knew that it was made by their students and instead of ignoring the tweets they embraced them. African American students obviously do not feel as equals at multiple universities so this is clearly a problem. I think that it is good thing that these tweets were so popular because it gets the truth out and clears the air about how they feel mistreated. I am assuming not every university mentioned in these tweets responded to their students, but because Michigan did it shows that they do care about ALL of their students. On page 246 Guth and Marsh state, “Social contract theory essentially says that we’re all in this together, so if you treat me well, I’ll treat you well. If we fail to do so, we reduce our society to chaos.” I think that it is all of the universities social responsibility to make sure that they are listening to what is being said on Twitter by their students. They should all be responding to the tweets and letting the students know that they hear what they are saying and want to make them feel more comfortable. I think that this is the universities obligation to their students and is not something that can be over looked. If a simple hashtag has grown into multiple tweets it has to be a big problem. A simple tweet from a university letting the students know they hear them and care will go a long way.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Anniston Henk
Scoop.it!

Costco tormented for labeling Bibles as ‘fiction’

Costco tormented for labeling Bibles as ‘fiction’ | Public Relations and Ethics | Scoop.it
A California pastor called his congregation to action over the labeling, to the point the fiasco ended up on the news.
Anniston Henk's insight:
Labeling the Bible as fiction is obviously something that will offend a large number of people, but I think this was an honest mistake Costco. I do not think it makes sense that Costco would knowingly label the Bible as fiction because I think they would be smarter than that. I also think it is a mistake because it did not happen at all Costco stores. Supposedly only a small number of Bibles were mislabeled. Many stores do not even sell Bibles so the fact that Costco does shows that they are trying to accommodate to their customers wants. Since they do carry Bibles I think they would be smarter than to allow them to be mislabeled. So often companies do not have appropriate apologies and offer no corrective action, but I think that Costco had a great apology. Costco accepted all the blame and apologized while clarifying that it was only a small amount of Bibles. Costco also offered a corrective action in the apology. On page 241 Guth and Marsh state, “Ethics are the values that guide the ways we think and act. That definition possesses two parts, each indispensable. Without values, we have no ethics. But unless we bring forth those equalities in our thoughts and actions, we still have no ethics.” I think that Costco proves that they have ethics in the way that they handled this situation. Costco can legally label the Bible anything they want so they technically did nothing wrong, but because they knew they had offended so many people they did apologize. I think that it is possible for this to damage Costco in a very small way because so many people are just going to read these headlines stating that “Costco labels the Bible as fiction” and not read the whole story. After reading the headlines people will probably only remember the negative when they think about Costco and that could cause them to avoid going there. I am a Christian and I find it embarrassing that so many Christians are so angry about this and making it such a huge deal. Christians know the Bible to be true, but that doesn’t mean the entire population shares our beliefs. Christians know it to be true so it really should not matter if they are labeled as fiction. Christians should recognize the fact that Costco does sale Bibles unlike many stores that do not even have Bibles for sale.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Anniston Henk
Scoop.it!

Lululemon mocks a charity in display window then offers them free yoga

Lululemon mocks a charity in display window then offers them free yoga | Public Relations and Ethics | Scoop.it
The company and the Dallas store insist it wasn’t their intention to offend, but it’s hard to determine exactly what the intention really was.
Anniston Henk's insight:

After reading this article I can’t help but be angry. This is such a terrible display of public relations and ethics on Lululemon’s behalf.  I can’t imagine how this happened or why this happened. Lululemon has stooped incredibly low to mock a charity in their window displays. They have given the impression that they are “too good” for local charities and I consider it a joke for them to offer free yoga as compensation. What good is free yoga? Lululemon is completely out of touch with reality if they believe offering free yoga to domestically abused women is a proper charity. Lululemon is not only facing these ethical issues, but all issues involving customer service and quality of products.

 

Numerous ethical codes were broken by Lululemon in this instance, but societal ethical codes were the most prominent.  Clearly mocking a charity is a violation of ethics, but the apology offered by Lululemon was very weak. According to Guth and Marsh on page 242, “Problems of ignorance may stem from lack of awareness that something is challenging our values”. I think that Lululemon is suffering from ignorance when it comes to the ethical issue of mocking a charity. They proved this by allowing a display that is very offensive and by offering a terrible apology. I think it is very ironic that they claim they had no intentions of offending anybody. I would like to know what they thought that display would do for their company. Did they think that it would bring positive feedback? I believe that no professional could look at that display and believe that it would not offend the public. I think that Lululemon only made their business seem even more “snotty” than they already do. They may have been trying to make themselves seem “exclusive” and felt the need to mock a charity to do so. The apology lacked sincerity as well as a corrective action. The only correction action offered was free yoga and I think that is an even bigger slap in the face. Who would want to go to free yoga after their business was mocked in a display window? Lululemon should have been more sincere and stated that they were going to be firing whoever was responsible for this. Letting the public know there would be some type of investigation and affirmative action to right this wrong would be the ethical thing to do. After reading this article it is safe to say I will never give a penny of my money to Lululemon.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Anniston Henk
Scoop.it!

Coke's weak explanation for an offensive 'promotion'

Coke's weak explanation for an offensive 'promotion' | Public Relations and Ethics | Scoop.it
The beverage maker has apologized after a girl in Canada—whose sister has autism—opened a Vitaminwater to find the words ‘You Retard’ printed under the lid.
Anniston Henk's insight:

Coke clearly has violated multiple ethical codes in this instance. I cannot even begin to imagine why “You Retard” would be printed on bottle cap. The excuse that Coke used stating it was a promotion is bogus, in my opinion.  Since when is pairing an American word with a French word considered a promotion?  The definition of “retard” in French is not even that much different than the American definition.  That kind of language is offensive to many and is justifying the use of the word “retard” to young children. According to the PRSA Member Statement of Professional Values, “we serve the public interest by acting as responsible advocates for those we represent”. Coke clearly did not abide by this statement when allowing the bottle cap to be printed with offensive language. Coke was also lacking to display public interest in their crisis management and apology.

 

Coke’s public apology was mediocre in my opinion, but I think they did not properly serve the family. They should have met with the family to personally apologize and offer solutions until the family was satisfied. That apology and explanation was very weak and did not change any opinions on the situation. A stronger explanation of how this happened could have possibly changed some opinions about the whole thing. According to the PRSA Member Statement of Professional Values, “we adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public”. Coke did not abide by this statement because they did not communicate honesty with the public. Somebody is not doing their job in the reviewing process or Coke saw this to be an acceptable promotion, in my opinion. Either way Coke should have offered some affirmative action or statement letting the public know that there will be great repercussions for whoever let this happen.

 

I suspect that Coke may have seen this to be an acceptable promotion because I find it very hard to believe that “you retard” would slip threw a reviewing process. I can’t imagine why Coke would think this acceptable, but since no explanation was offered by Coke it seems it could be true.  As Public Relations professionals we are responsible for offering the public explanations and repairing relationships with the public.  I do not think that Coke did all they could to right this obvious wrong in this instance.

more...
Deanna Moore's curator insight, September 26, 2013 8:46 PM

If Coca Cola wants to fix the current issue at hand, they should find out how a mistake like this was over looked and find a way to prevvent it in the future. Unfortunately for this poor fmaily, they are faced with such a stigma of the company and what they believe in, even though its not at all how Coca-Cola feels, it was a mistake and should be handled as such, but for those pushing for more, they should do more.

Scooped by Anniston Henk
Scoop.it!

Kenneth Cole crosses another ethical line

Kenneth Cole crosses another ethical line | Public Relations and Ethics | Scoop.it
In 2011, the brand got slammed for a tweet mixing the Egyptian Revolution and sales. It’s playing a similar tune now, this time in regard to the crisis in Syria. UPDATE: Cole posted a video to Instagram in response to the criticism.
Anniston Henk's insight:

Has Kenneth Cole crossed an ethical line with his recent tweet? I say yes, it's not foreign territory for Kenneth Cole based on his past tweets. This was an ignorant remark and could have been prevented by public relations professional on his PR team. Cole only brought negative attention to himself and his brand. On page 244 of our book it explains the importance of societal codes. These codes are not written, but understood. If you violate such codes it is often hard to undo the damage. Cole violated societal codes by making shoes sound more important than the U.S. Congress debating whether to conduct a military strike against Syria.

“Problems of ignorance come from a lack of awareness that something is challenging our values”, states page 242 of our book. I first considered that Cole was simply falling victim to ignorance and had made a mistake. Once I read that he has made no apology about the tweet I considered he may not have been only guilty of ignorance, but also short-term thinking. Page 243 offers the definition of short-term thinking, “Short-term thinking is poor critical thinking. It involves refusing to consider the long-term consequences of your actions.” I would like to think that Cole was falling victim to short-term thinking. Perhaps, Cole posted the tweet without fully considering how the tweet really sounded. He could have thought that it was a witty post and others would take it lightly. If this was true why doesn’t Cole apologize? Instead of an apology or corrective action Cole released that video claiming the purpose of the post was to "provoke dialogue about important issues". I find that to be a very poor excuse for his ethical behavior.

“If we deliberately refuse to consider long-term ramifications, short-term thinking may be more a problem of denial than ignorance”, states page 243 of our book. I think this better explains his actions. He is obviously ignorant, but also in denial of the damage he could be causing to his brand. This is made apparent by the post-tweet video he posted on Instagram.

 This whole crisis does not only speak volumes for Cole’s lacking ethics, but also his PR team and their ethics. I do not know for sure that there was a PR team involved in his actions. Ethics is a very important thing in PR and business. When an ethical line is crossed it should be addressed appropriately and I did not find this case to address it in an effective way.

more...
Deanna Moore's curator insight, September 26, 2013 9:28 PM

That was very unethical for Kenneth Cole to mock such a sensitive topic for all those involved in the Syria debate. He crossed a unethical line again, and for this i hope his credibility is ruined. I know that wouldn't happen with such a big brand pver one comment, but one could only hope.