A few months ago, a prominent executive—someone who should have known better—asked me: “What is it exactly that you do?” Having been asked this question hundreds of times over the past quarter century, I replied: “Just like a company’s brand and reputation, every corporation has public relations, whether they want it or not. The only question is whether they want to strategically direct it or let it drift on to the rocks.”
A variation of this question gave rise to a remarkable white paper in the 1980s titled “The Seven Deadly Sins of Public Relations.” The irony? Today they’re far worse. In a YouTube, anybody-can-write-a-blog environment, these seven deadly sins not only remain in force, they have intensified in toxic magnitude. Left unchecked, these sins can and will devastate profit, reputation, employee performance and corporate earnings, particularly in an intense 21st-century interactive environment.
If you’ve ever wondered why companies who develop and deploy a strategic public relations focus seem to do better than others, here are the updated seven deadly sins that illustrate why: