PR, Soc Med, the SME and ethical conflicts

by Lee Hopkins on September 29, 2009 · 48 comments

in ethics,marketing,pr,tools

Isabella Scheflo and Penny Cazalet at the Second Life offices of Better Communication Results

Okay, I have been mulling this one over for a while and I still don’t have an answer.

I know what *should* happen to be the best outcome for the purists amongst us, but I also know that business exigencies have a way of overcoming purist arguments with what can sometimes be called ‘business reality’. So here goes my question to you all:

Background
A small-medium sized business has approached their PR agency to look after their social networking/social media activities for them. They are a small enough business that they don’t have anyone spare that can be pulled off ‘production’ in order to do all that blogging, tweeting, youtube stuff, but they are large enough that they can at least afford to pay the same people who design their business cards, marketing brochures, website, etc., to do it (or at least some of it) for them.

Question to you all:
What are the processes, disclaimers, etc., that the PR agency must go through in order to be ‘kosher’ in this 2.0 world? If they have a fairly good insight into their client’s business, can they therefore speak with some authority and authenticity on their behalf?

Over to you…


music note While writing this, I was listening to "Down Down" by Status Quo


  • http://www.davejones.ca Dave Jones

    Hopkins, a very timely post for me. I was just having this conversatiom with an account team in our office.

    Preferably, someone from the client organization should be the “face” of the company in social media channels. However, there often isn’t a warm body to do it and there won’t be in the future. Does this mean that their story doesn’t deserve to be heard?

    Agencies can perform the blogging, tweeting, Facebook and general community management on behalf of a client as long as they follow best practices of disclosure and transparency. A quick read of the WOMMA ethical guidelines, Social Media Business Council ethical guidelines and even our (Hill & Knowlton’s) social media guidelines will give you a sense of what you have to do to stay within best practices.

    Again, this isn’t the ideal, but done with class and transparency (and not ghostwritten) agencies can perform this function for their clients in the short term with a view to handing over the reins when the client is staffed up and ready to do it themselves.

    Dave
    @doctorjones

  • http://www.davejones.ca Dave Jones

    Hopkins, a very timely post for me. I was just having this conversatiom with an account team in our office.

    Preferably, someone from the client organization should be the “face” of the company in social media channels. However, there often isn’t a warm body to do it and there won’t be in the future. Does this mean that their story doesn’t deserve to be heard?

    Agencies can perform the blogging, tweeting, Facebook and general community management on behalf of a client as long as they follow best practices of disclosure and transparency. A quick read of the WOMMA ethical guidelines, Social Media Business Council ethical guidelines and even our (Hill & Knowlton’s) social media guidelines will give you a sense of what you have to do to stay within best practices.

    Again, this isn’t the ideal, but done with class and transparency (and not ghostwritten) agencies can perform this function for their clients in the short term with a view to handing over the reins when the client is staffed up and ready to do it themselves.

    Dave
    @doctorjones

  • http://Www.davejones.ca David Jones

    Hopkins, a very timely post for me. I was just having this conversatiom with an account team in our office.

    Preferably, someone from the client organization should be the “face” of the company in social media channels. However, there often isn’t a warm body to do it and there won’t be in the future. Does this mean that their story doesn’t deserve to be heard?

    Agencies can perform the blogging, tweeting, Facebook and general community management on behalf of a client as long as they follow best practices of disclosure and transparency. A quick read of the WOMMA ethical guidelines, Social Media Business Council ethical guidelines and even our (Hill & Knowlton’s) social media guidelines will give you a sense of what you have to do to stay within best practices.

    Again, this isn’t the ideal, but done with class and transparency (and not ghostwritten) agencies can perform this function for their clients in the short term with a view to handing over the reins when the client is staffed up and ready to do it themselves.

    Dave
    @doctorjones

  • Lee Hopkins

    Thanks, David – do you have a link to your agency’s guidelines?

  • Lee Hopkins

    Thanks, David – do you have a link to your agency’s guidelines?

  • Lee Hopkins

    Thanks, David – do you have a link to your agency’s guidelines?

  • http://trafcom.typepad.com/ Donna Papacosta

    This topic must be “in the air,” because a client was asking me about it last week. I think Dave has stated the case for authenticity and transparency very well.
    In my own experience, I have coached people so that they can learn to blog, tweet, podcast, etc., with confidence. In an ideal world, everyone would be comfortable with these tools, and would have the time to use them. Unfortunately, the world is not ideal.
    .-= Donna Papacosta´s last blog ..Help! Our IT department won’t support podcasting =-.

  • http://trafcom.typepad.com/ Donna Papacosta

    This topic must be “in the air,” because a client was asking me about it last week. I think Dave has stated the case for authenticity and transparency very well.
    In my own experience, I have coached people so that they can learn to blog, tweet, podcast, etc., with confidence. In an ideal world, everyone would be comfortable with these tools, and would have the time to use them. Unfortunately, the world is not ideal.
    .-= Donna Papacosta´s last blog ..Help! Our IT department won’t support podcasting =-.

  • http://trafcom.typepad.com Donna Papacosta

    This topic must be “in the air,” because a client was asking me about it last week. I think Dave has stated the case for authenticity and transparency very well.
    In my own experience, I have coached people so that they can learn to blog, tweet, podcast, etc., with confidence. In an ideal world, everyone would be comfortable with these tools, and would have the time to use them. Unfortunately, the world is not ideal.
    .-= Donna Papacosta´s last blog ..Help! Our IT department won’t support podcasting =-.

  • http://davefleet.com/ Dave Fleet

    I completely agree with the good Mr. Jones on this one. In an ideal world, someone on the client side would man their Twitter account(s) (and their other social media accounts).

    However, in many organizations there aren’t the resources to do this – at least initially, until its utility is proven – so the choice becomes having no voice or having an agency voice. In my opinion, the latter is preferable to the former.

    I’m firm on the importance of disclosure when an agency is posting on behalf of a client. For me it often manifests as a combination of full disclosure in the bios on a site, paired with an indication of who is posting each time if multiple people man an account. So far I haven’t found that people have cared much if it’s an agency or the company – the main way the issue seems to raise its head is when things AREN’T disclosed.

    As Dave says, agency involvement on this level is only really a short-term solution. Once the company is ready to do it themselves, the agency should step aside.

    Dave
    .-= Dave Fleet´s last blog ..Face-Off: Twitter Apps For BlackBerry =-.

  • http://davefleet.com/ Dave Fleet

    I completely agree with the good Mr. Jones on this one. In an ideal world, someone on the client side would man their Twitter account(s) (and their other social media accounts).

    However, in many organizations there aren’t the resources to do this – at least initially, until its utility is proven – so the choice becomes having no voice or having an agency voice. In my opinion, the latter is preferable to the former.

    I’m firm on the importance of disclosure when an agency is posting on behalf of a client. For me it often manifests as a combination of full disclosure in the bios on a site, paired with an indication of who is posting each time if multiple people man an account. So far I haven’t found that people have cared much if it’s an agency or the company – the main way the issue seems to raise its head is when things AREN’T disclosed.

    As Dave says, agency involvement on this level is only really a short-term solution. Once the company is ready to do it themselves, the agency should step aside.

    Dave
    .-= Dave Fleet´s last blog ..Face-Off: Twitter Apps For BlackBerry =-.

  • http://davefleet.com Dave Fleet

    I completely agree with the good Mr. Jones on this one. In an ideal world, someone on the client side would man their Twitter account(s) (and their other social media accounts).

    However, in many organizations there aren’t the resources to do this – at least initially, until its utility is proven – so the choice becomes having no voice or having an agency voice. In my opinion, the latter is preferable to the former.

    I’m firm on the importance of disclosure when an agency is posting on behalf of a client. For me it often manifests as a combination of full disclosure in the bios on a site, paired with an indication of who is posting each time if multiple people man an account. So far I haven’t found that people have cared much if it’s an agency or the company – the main way the issue seems to raise its head is when things AREN’T disclosed.

    As Dave says, agency involvement on this level is only really a short-term solution. Once the company is ready to do it themselves, the agency should step aside.

    Dave
    .-= Dave Fleet´s last blog ..Face-Off: Twitter Apps For BlackBerry =-.

  • http://justinkownacki.com/ Justin Kownacki

    Most of my work comes through an agency, so I have firsthand experience serving as another company’s “web voice.” I understand the concerns from purists, and at the heart of the argument, I’d consider myself a purist too.

    But I do believe there’s a difference between “social media”(aka “things we make and share”) and “social marketing” (aka “using web tools to promote something else entirely”). A person wouldn’t outsource her videoblog or DeviantArt account because that’s considered to be inherently personal. But if a company had to rely solely on their most tech-savvy or conversational employee to manage their social marketing, they’d only get as far as that individual was capable of going on their own.

    Personally, I’m a big believer in being as DIY as you can reasonably achieve. But I’m also aware of the realities of business, and the fact that every company seeking to keep their social marketing in-house would face a steep learning curve. So as long as an agency is working *with* a client to manage their social marketing presence (as opposed to inventing it from scratch), this arrangement can be extremely effective.
    .-= Justin Kownacki´s last blog ..What Do We Do About Plagiarism? =-.

  • http://justinkownacki.com/ Justin Kownacki

    Most of my work comes through an agency, so I have firsthand experience serving as another company’s “web voice.” I understand the concerns from purists, and at the heart of the argument, I’d consider myself a purist too.

    But I do believe there’s a difference between “social media”(aka “things we make and share”) and “social marketing” (aka “using web tools to promote something else entirely”). A person wouldn’t outsource her videoblog or DeviantArt account because that’s considered to be inherently personal. But if a company had to rely solely on their most tech-savvy or conversational employee to manage their social marketing, they’d only get as far as that individual was capable of going on their own.

    Personally, I’m a big believer in being as DIY as you can reasonably achieve. But I’m also aware of the realities of business, and the fact that every company seeking to keep their social marketing in-house would face a steep learning curve. So as long as an agency is working *with* a client to manage their social marketing presence (as opposed to inventing it from scratch), this arrangement can be extremely effective.
    .-= Justin Kownacki´s last blog ..What Do We Do About Plagiarism? =-.

  • http://justinkownacki.com/ Justin Kownacki

    Most of my work comes through an agency, so I have firsthand experience serving as another company’s “web voice.” I understand the concerns from purists, and at the heart of the argument, I’d consider myself a purist too.

    But I do believe there’s a difference between “social media”(aka “things we make and share”) and “social marketing” (aka “using web tools to promote something else entirely”). A person wouldn’t outsource her videoblog or DeviantArt account because that’s considered to be inherently personal. But if a company had to rely solely on their most tech-savvy or conversational employee to manage their social marketing, they’d only get as far as that individual was capable of going on their own.

    Personally, I’m a big believer in being as DIY as you can reasonably achieve. But I’m also aware of the realities of business, and the fact that every company seeking to keep their social marketing in-house would face a steep learning curve. So as long as an agency is working *with* a client to manage their social marketing presence (as opposed to inventing it from scratch), this arrangement can be extremely effective.
    .-= Justin Kownacki´s last blog ..What Do We Do About Plagiarism? =-.

  • http://twitter.com/Kaylynreve Kaylyn

    The responsibility in agencies are changing. Traditionally we have written media advisories, press releases, etc. for clients — in PR 2.0 our responsibility is now to help clients maintain outlets of social media. We are message-shapers and today the way you shape messages is not only through traditional PR responsibilities but new ones like tweeting or blogging.
    .-= Kaylyn´s last blog ..Kaylynreve: where did #September go? =-.

  • http://twitter.com/Kaylynreve Kaylyn

    The responsibility in agencies are changing. Traditionally we have written media advisories, press releases, etc. for clients — in PR 2.0 our responsibility is now to help clients maintain outlets of social media. We are message-shapers and today the way you shape messages is not only through traditional PR responsibilities but new ones like tweeting or blogging.
    .-= Kaylyn´s last blog ..Kaylynreve: where did #September go? =-.

  • http://twitter.com/Kaylynreve Kaylyn

    The responsibility in agencies are changing. Traditionally we have written media advisories, press releases, etc. for clients — in PR 2.0 our responsibility is now to help clients maintain outlets of social media. We are message-shapers and today the way you shape messages is not only through traditional PR responsibilities but new ones like tweeting or blogging.
    .-= Kaylyn´s last blog ..Kaylynreve: where did #September go? =-.

  • Lloyd Grosse

    Hi Lee

    Long time no speak. Good question. I think the PR role is to debunk the new channels and software and teach the potentional voices of the organisation to engage effectively. If the organisation has no bandwidth then I think it is fine for a PR to write on their behalf.

    Here’s how: a prearranged regular meeting or call to the CEO or key stakeholders to ask “Hey – what’s going on and what’s important to you today?” – and – “these guys have said X about you – do you want to reply?” Right – information gathered. PR goes to twitter, blog or other channel and repeats what they have gathered in a voice that is consistant with the authentic voice of the person saying it (after all that is one of our competencies).

    In the message or linked to the message (with high visibility) the PR makes VERY clear: the process of authoring – who they are – and why they are making the entry on behalf of the client.

    Disclosure: I am the National Information Officer of the PRIA – these views are my own and do not represent the PRIA.

  • Lloyd Grosse

    Hi Lee

    Long time no speak. Good question. I think the PR role is to debunk the new channels and software and teach the potentional voices of the organisation to engage effectively. If the organisation has no bandwidth then I think it is fine for a PR to write on their behalf.

    Here’s how: a prearranged regular meeting or call to the CEO or key stakeholders to ask “Hey – what’s going on and what’s important to you today?” – and – “these guys have said X about you – do you want to reply?” Right – information gathered. PR goes to twitter, blog or other channel and repeats what they have gathered in a voice that is consistant with the authentic voice of the person saying it (after all that is one of our competencies).

    In the message or linked to the message (with high visibility) the PR makes VERY clear: the process of authoring – who they are – and why they are making the entry on behalf of the client.

    Disclosure: I am the National Information Officer of the PRIA – these views are my own and do not represent the PRIA.

  • Lloyd Grosse

    Hi Lee

    Long time no speak. Good question. I think the PR role is to debunk the new channels and software and teach the potentional voices of the organisation to engage effectively. If the organisation has no bandwidth then I think it is fine for a PR to write on their behalf.

    Here’s how: a prearranged regular meeting or call to the CEO or key stakeholders to ask “Hey – what’s going on and what’s important to you today?” – and – “these guys have said X about you – do you want to reply?” Right – information gathered. PR goes to twitter, blog or other channel and repeats what they have gathered in a voice that is consistant with the authentic voice of the person saying it (after all that is one of our competencies).

    In the message or linked to the message (with high visibility) the PR makes VERY clear: the process of authoring – who they are – and why they are making the entry on behalf of the client.

    Disclosure: I am the National Information Officer of the PRIA – these views are my own and do not represent the PRIA.

  • Lee Hopkins

    Thanks, all, for these wise views.

    The challenge that I have, Lloyd, with your otherwise ‘spot on’ process is that the response timeframes have shortened to such an extent these days that the traditional 4-5 days is now 4-5 hours. Would the PR person have the authority to be able to go direct to the CEO, or other subject-matter-expert, and get the answer? And should they? Does the PR person handling that account need training on when to answer and when to ignore? (My view is ‘yes’).

    But what happens when that PR account manager (or possibly/probably their junior exec or 20-something intern) is away, or leaves the company, or goes back to uni?

    I agree with all that the ideal best person is from the company themselves – but that leaves open three questions: do they have time? do they value it (communication) enough to do it? What then does the PR agency do?

  • Lee Hopkins

    Thanks, all, for these wise views.

    The challenge that I have, Lloyd, with your otherwise ‘spot on’ process is that the response timeframes have shortened to such an extent these days that the traditional 4-5 days is now 4-5 hours. Would the PR person have the authority to be able to go direct to the CEO, or other subject-matter-expert, and get the answer? And should they? Does the PR person handling that account need training on when to answer and when to ignore? (My view is ‘yes’).

    But what happens when that PR account manager (or possibly/probably their junior exec or 20-something intern) is away, or leaves the company, or goes back to uni?

    I agree with all that the ideal best person is from the company themselves – but that leaves open three questions: do they have time? do they value it (communication) enough to do it? What then does the PR agency do?

  • Lee Hopkins

    Thanks, all, for these wise views.

    The challenge that I have, Lloyd, with your otherwise ‘spot on’ process is that the response timeframes have shortened to such an extent these days that the traditional 4-5 days is now 4-5 hours. Would the PR person have the authority to be able to go direct to the CEO, or other subject-matter-expert, and get the answer? And should they? Does the PR person handling that account need training on when to answer and when to ignore? (My view is ‘yes’).

    But what happens when that PR account manager (or possibly/probably their junior exec or 20-something intern) is away, or leaves the company, or goes back to uni?

    I agree with all that the ideal best person is from the company themselves – but that leaves open three questions: do they have time? do they value it (communication) enough to do it? What then does the PR agency do?

  • Lee Hopkins

    Oh, and btw, Dave Fleet: agreeing with Doctor Jones is, in some circles, a CLM — you get labelled as curmudgeonly :-)

    CLM = Career Limiting Move

    Disclosure: I am a huge fan of Doctor Jones and am equally curmudgeonly, and comfortably so

  • Lee Hopkins

    Oh, and btw, Dave Fleet: agreeing with Doctor Jones is, in some circles, a CLM — you get labelled as curmudgeonly :-)

    CLM = Career Limiting Move

    Disclosure: I am a huge fan of Doctor Jones and am equally curmudgeonly, and comfortably so

  • Lee Hopkins

    Oh, and btw, Dave Fleet: agreeing with Doctor Jones is, in some circles, a CLM — you get labelled as curmudgeonly :-)

    CLM = Career Limiting Move

    Disclosure: I am a huge fan of Doctor Jones and am equally curmudgeonly, and comfortably so

  • Lee Hopkins

    Off topic: Lloyd, contact Coralie in the SA office if you haven’t already done so – the workshops went super well :-)

  • Lee Hopkins

    Off topic: Lloyd, contact Coralie in the SA office if you haven’t already done so – the workshops went super well :-)

  • Lee Hopkins

    Off topic: Lloyd, contact Coralie in the SA office if you haven’t already done so – the workshops went super well :-)

  • http://www.mattgranfield.com/ Matt Granfield

    We publish content on behalf of clients all the time. They hire us as brand ambassadors to speak on their behalf. We do up a social media comms schedule which they approve in advance and we create guidelines for topical conversations that happen without formal approval from the client. It works a treat.

  • http://www.mattgranfield.com/ Matt Granfield

    We publish content on behalf of clients all the time. They hire us as brand ambassadors to speak on their behalf. We do up a social media comms schedule which they approve in advance and we create guidelines for topical conversations that happen without formal approval from the client. It works a treat.

  • http://www.mattgranfield.com/ Matt Granfield

    We publish content on behalf of clients all the time. They hire us as brand ambassadors to speak on their behalf. We do up a social media comms schedule which they approve in advance and we create guidelines for topical conversations that happen without formal approval from the client. It works a treat.

  • Lee Hopkins

    Thanks, Matt — what level of disclosure do you have?

  • Lee Hopkins

    Thanks, Matt — what level of disclosure do you have?

  • Lee Hopkins

    Thanks, Matt — what level of disclosure do you have?

  • http://text100sydney.wordpress.com/ Lukas Picton

    Hi there Lee,

    Good post! Definitely something that I know many PR folk have encountered, including myself. I’m not going to repeat the former statements of some of my peers here except to say that it’s good to see social media ‘best practice’ permeating both agency and in-house roles.

    From our (Text 100′s) perspective, we would always encourage someone client side to be the person engaging in these conversations. And we’ve found that this doesn’t necessarily have to be someone in senior management. Sometimes the best person to be out there commenting on forums or on Twitter is one of the geeky product guys who is incredibly well educated on the specs of the product/gadget/software/service etc but is usually engaged in social media already.

    When this simply isn’t possible, as your problem suggests, then the agency must take on this role in an authentic and transparent fashion. We frequently outreach on behalf of our clients but always preface our communication by clearly indicating where we are from and who we are representing.

    In my experience, this can sometimes work better in some situations. If the agency is actively involved in these online discussions, can identify, act on and resolve a problem in a timely fashion it’s my experience that this can be done quicker than alerting the client social media spokesperson and having them jump into the conversation.

    Either way it all comes down to authenticity, both on the client and agency side :-)

    L.
    .-= Lukas Picton´s last blog ..Text 100 wins PRIA award! =-.

  • http://text100sydney.wordpress.com/ Lukas Picton

    Hi there Lee,

    Good post! Definitely something that I know many PR folk have encountered, including myself. I’m not going to repeat the former statements of some of my peers here except to say that it’s good to see social media ‘best practice’ permeating both agency and in-house roles.

    From our (Text 100′s) perspective, we would always encourage someone client side to be the person engaging in these conversations. And we’ve found that this doesn’t necessarily have to be someone in senior management. Sometimes the best person to be out there commenting on forums or on Twitter is one of the geeky product guys who is incredibly well educated on the specs of the product/gadget/software/service etc but is usually engaged in social media already.

    When this simply isn’t possible, as your problem suggests, then the agency must take on this role in an authentic and transparent fashion. We frequently outreach on behalf of our clients but always preface our communication by clearly indicating where we are from and who we are representing.

    In my experience, this can sometimes work better in some situations. If the agency is actively involved in these online discussions, can identify, act on and resolve a problem in a timely fashion it’s my experience that this can be done quicker than alerting the client social media spokesperson and having them jump into the conversation.

    Either way it all comes down to authenticity, both on the client and agency side :-)

    L.
    .-= Lukas Picton´s last blog ..Text 100 wins PRIA award! =-.

  • http://text100sydney.wordpress.com Lukas Picton

    Hi there Lee,

    Good post! Definitely something that I know many PR folk have encountered, including myself. I’m not going to repeat the former statements of some of my peers here except to say that it’s good to see social media ‘best practice’ permeating both agency and in-house roles.

    From our (Text 100′s) perspective, we would always encourage someone client side to be the person engaging in these conversations. And we’ve found that this doesn’t necessarily have to be someone in senior management. Sometimes the best person to be out there commenting on forums or on Twitter is one of the geeky product guys who is incredibly well educated on the specs of the product/gadget/software/service etc but is usually engaged in social media already.

    When this simply isn’t possible, as your problem suggests, then the agency must take on this role in an authentic and transparent fashion. We frequently outreach on behalf of our clients but always preface our communication by clearly indicating where we are from and who we are representing.

    In my experience, this can sometimes work better in some situations. If the agency is actively involved in these online discussions, can identify, act on and resolve a problem in a timely fashion it’s my experience that this can be done quicker than alerting the client social media spokesperson and having them jump into the conversation.

    Either way it all comes down to authenticity, both on the client and agency side :-)

    L.
    .-= Lukas Picton´s last blog ..Text 100 wins PRIA award! =-.

  • Lee Hopkins

    I wonder what the sentiments – unconscious, even – of the consumers of such messages from agency staff are. I’m not aware of any behavioural research into whether that ‘one level removed’ effects buyer behaviour over the mid-long term. Fancy funding some research, Dr Jones?

  • Lee Hopkins

    I wonder what the sentiments – unconscious, even – of the consumers of such messages from agency staff are. I’m not aware of any behavioural research into whether that ‘one level removed’ effects buyer behaviour over the mid-long term. Fancy funding some research, Dr Jones?

  • Lee Hopkins

    I wonder what the sentiments – unconscious, even – of the consumers of such messages from agency staff are. I’m not aware of any behavioural research into whether that ‘one level removed’ effects buyer behaviour over the mid-long term. Fancy funding some research, Dr Jones?

  • http://www.davejones.ca Dave Jones

    I’m not funding squat.
    Dominoes is still in business. Dell is still in business. American Airlines is still in business. Sony, Wal-mart, JetBlue, Motrin…you get the idea.

    Bad online coverage hasn’t had a tangible effect on any of these poster children so far. Maybe some reputational damage in the short term, but nothing that has hurt the bottom line.

    Consumers as a whole aren’t paying as close attention to what brands are doing or having done to them online. I’m sure if you asked, they’d say they prefer actual company people, but in reality they just want honesty and credibility.

  • http://www.davejones.ca Dave Jones

    I’m not funding squat.
    Dominoes is still in business. Dell is still in business. American Airlines is still in business. Sony, Wal-mart, JetBlue, Motrin…you get the idea.

    Bad online coverage hasn’t had a tangible effect on any of these poster children so far. Maybe some reputational damage in the short term, but nothing that has hurt the bottom line.

    Consumers as a whole aren’t paying as close attention to what brands are doing or having done to them online. I’m sure if you asked, they’d say they prefer actual company people, but in reality they just want honesty and credibility.

  • http://Www.davejones.ca David Jones

    I’m not funding squat.
    Dominoes is still in business. Dell is still in business. American Airlines is still in business. Sony, Wal-mart, JetBlue, Motrin…you get the idea.

    Bad online coverage hasn’t had a tangible effect on any of these poster children so far. Maybe some reputational damage in the short term, but nothing that has hurt the bottom line.

    Consumers as a whole aren’t paying as close attention to what brands are doing or having done to them online. I’m sure if you asked, they’d say they prefer actual company people, but in reality they just want honesty and credibility.

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  • http://www.greenhousepr.co.uk Robin Dally

    I don’t believe we should be speaking on our clients behalf if they are an individual. Not without it being very clear that we are speaking on their behalf. Speaking on behalf of a Brand, as a paid representative of that brand is different.

  • Lee Hopkins

    I agree with you, Robin, about ghost speaking on behalf of individuals, but in my experience having the company’s PR agency speak on behalf of the company leads to delays that are no longer acceptable, as well as too many ‘I don’t know the answer, I’ll have to get back to you’ responses.

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