Public Relations as Corporate Conscience
(Originally posted Nov 22, 2018)
When Wrights was established some 30 years ago, it was understood that although the consultancy was a small business it would approach challenges with a sound, big business mentality. The guiding reference work at the time was Michael Gerber’s E-Myth (subsequently revised).
Wrights implemented key processes outlined in Gerber’s book, but also set guidelines that ensured a robust corporate culture and a powerful client list.
The first house rule was to work only for clients who were the best or wanted to be the best in their field. Not the biggest or the most profitable, but the best.
And the best meant companies and people with whom you would be proud to be associated. Being recognised by these clients as a corporate conscience, providing counsel respectful of but separate from lawyers and accountants was a must.
Managing its own reputation and building the Wrights’ brand was as important as delivering similar outcomes for the firm’s clients. It was vital that the firm was - and was seen to be - a indispensable adviser, helping to protect valuable but intangible assets, such as brand equity and corporate reputation.
Prior to the proliferation of social media and its ability to draw attention to corporate behaviour, public relations tended to disguise its role, preferring to work in the background.
That was never Wrights’ style. The firm has been fearless in providing considered communication counsel, so access to the C-suite was always a given in all professional relationships.
Therefore, Wrights has maintained its independence. Many other successful PR firms have succumbed to takeovers by international advertising conglomerates robbing them of their objectivity.
Now, the independent PR industry faces new challenges from professional services firms moving onto their turf, potentially blurring the line between providing counsel on what is the right thing to do or simply acting to benefit specific stakeholders.
Companies who are the best or want to be the best understand this and regard seeking independent public relations counsel, separate from legal and financial advice, as good business practice.