Edelman CEO: PR must be ‘the corporate conscience’

In an era of collapsing trust in government and business, it’s up to communicators to build trust and shape organizations for the good, says Richard Edelman.

Outsiders often perceive public relations professionals as used car salesmen willing to hype any cause or product.

Folks in the business know that the truth works better than spin, especially in an age of cynicism about business and government.

So, how about making PR the driving force in shaping organizations for the good?

“In advising on the what to do, we have to act as the corporate conscience,” said Richard Edelman, chairman of the board of DJE Holdings and president and chief executive of Edelman, told an audience of communicators.

Speaking at the International Association of Business Communicators world conference in New York this week, Edelman urged PR professionals to make it their job to advise organizations not just about communications, but about how to behave ethically and transparently.

Edelman heads the world’s largest public relations firm, with 67 offices and 4,800 employees worldwide.

Declining trust

The 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer, a survey of 31,000 respondents in 26 countries, shows a dramatic decline in trust since 2008, Edelman says.

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