Doing the right thing isn’t easy…
“Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.” Theodore Roosevelt.
Starting an article on a quote isn’t something I’d usually do, but it really does say it all. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you know what is right but your fear of reprisal is holding you back?
We were recently engaged by a company who had discovered corporate wrongdoing on a calamitous scale. It was immediately clear the company came to us because they wanted confirmation their views were right!
They were scared but equally shocked at what they had discovered and the impact that will have on thousands and thousands of everyday people like you and me.
Whilst consulting on the task I found myself thinking about how much energy it takes to do the right thing.
They could have walked away from this, a very small company taking on a UK corporate giant. Before we all start to fondly reminisce about the film Erin Brockovich, we could have walked away from this too! However we didn’t because like my client we know what is right, and it will mean something because we are doing something about it.
Are you looking to break the silence but don’t know where to start? I have three important areas of advice for you.
# 1 Is it right?
You have to ask yourself this question; does it feel right? Vindictive and commercially selfish motives are not good enough reasons, they will only come back to bite you.
#2 Choose wisely
Choose your advisors wisely. Engage a PR who has experience of the topic. This is vitally important. There are many crisis agencies, publicists and whistle blowing ‘experts’ but in my opinion it is better to engage with a professional who has understanding and knowledge of the industry you work within. Your second advisor is a good lawyer; do not share your findings in writing or otherwise without discussing with a lawyer first. You must ensure you are communicating the facts only rather than false statement; you wouldn’t want to find yourself in court.
#3 Appropriate media
Serious news requires serious journalism. Do your research and engage the most appropriate journalist. A serious subject isn’t a tabloid story. Choose a quality newspaper known for its investigative journalism; in essence someone who will take you and the subject seriously. Above all choose someone who is happy to work with you, willing to establish the facts, and eager to ask questions and really investigate your findings.
Founder and owner of Chew PR, Colette has worked in PR for over 15 years. She has seen both sides and worked for consultancy and in-house teams providing her with an insight not many see. Colette will be contributing to the Public Relations section. She is based in Wakefield, England.