Dodgy PR gets its comeuppance: Bell Pottinger’s reputation debacle

One of the most popular ever posts on this blog, posted last year, is entitled: “Why Unilever should sack Bell Pottinger“.

PR firms are well known to often attempt mastery of the ‘dark arts’ of mis-information.

In my earlier post I tried to make the point that if your suppliers, employees and business partners are supposed to share your values, why not your PR firm?

Ethical Corporation published a special on that in 2011. Only one large PR firm, Burson Marstellar, responed to our requests for information.

This latest news, on top of some earlier investigating, shows just why your PR/lobbying firm, and how they act, matters much more for your reputation than your might have thought.

It will not be long before mainstream journalists begin joining the dots and asking large companies why on earth they work with PR/lobbying outfits who routinely behave unethically.

Right now the attention is on political connections. Soon it will shift to corporate.

As Stephen Fry famously said (or it was said to him) in the hilarious spoof on PR, Absolute Power: “You can’t really do effective PR when you ARE the story”.

I suggest you send these BBC and Independent articles linked to on the BBC site above, to your communications and procurement directors and suggest a meeting to discuss ethical guidelines for your PR/lobbying providers.

After all, ethical behaviour is all about consistency, isn’t it?

For more on dodgy lobbying, go here.

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