October 31 2022
To share its 30-year anniversary with all PR and communications professionals around the globe, the Public Relations Global Network is sharing 30 pearls of wisdom from its senior members and agency leaders.
The 30 pearls – some of the network members’ best tips and advice polished in the past 30 years and dazzling to show direction for the next decades in PR and communications – were published in an eBook at PRGN’s anniversary meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, in May 2022. The eBook is also available for downloads on the opening page of the PRGN website.
Below is one of the 30 pearls from members, expanded to fit PRGN’s regular blog series. It is written by Boh-Tiong Yap, Chairman of Mileage Communications in Singapore, PRGN's first member agency in Asia-Pacific. Mileage Communications recently hosted PRGN's member meeting and Asia Summit conference in Singapore in October 2022.
One of three tenets upon which Mileage Communications was built, and which guides interaction with clients, partners, staff, vendors, the media and other stakeholders, is observing integrity.
Integrity refers to being honest, reliable, and trustworthy. It is about seeking to always do the right thing, standing up for what is right, and addressing conflict respectfully.
Over our 30-year history, we have faced our share of moral quandaries and risen to the challenge each time. There was one time when a staff member placed an advertisement on behalf of an important client on the wrong date. The client refused to pay for the advertisement. We promptly took out another advertisement on the correct date at no extra cost to the client.
On another occasion, a major client poached one of our junior staff and claimed in their defense that she had applied for the post. In our retainer contract with the client, there was a penalty clause which prohibited both parties from recruiting each other’s employees. We opted to enforce the penalty at the expense of losing the client, and collected a fee (equal to one year’s worth of salary of the employee in question) that was one-fifth of the annual value of the retainer. It did not make financial sense but we felt that we had to stand up for our principles, and set an example for our staff and other clients.
Any unethical behavior can have disastrous consequences on a company’s reputation.
Many marketing gurus have highlighted that reputation once lost will take years to recover, if it is at all.
On the flip side, ethical behavior can attract and retain customers, engender employee loyalty and foster collaboration with like-minded companies.
It therefore pays to observe integrity always.