At the Legal Marketing Association's General Counsel Forum last week, those heads of corporate legal departments were asked: What keeps you up at night. Ha-ha any public relations pro might be thinking: What doesn't.
At Abovethelaw.com, Brian Dalton reports that among what keeps them tossing and turning is reputation management. Attendee Scott Univer of accounting firm WeiserMazars noted that in his industry, "Reputation is everything." That's exactly why public relations is growing so rapidly and its players have their choice of plum jobs.
Yet, the importance of reputation is a lesson which too many startups have not yet learned. I ghostwrote a book for one brandname entrepreneur. He seemed to believe in himself and his online services so much that he ignored the rules. Those ranged from good customer service to the law. Soon enough the FTC investigated. That made the front page of his city's major newspaper. If he is as smart as he once assumed he was he has hired a top public relations firm to restore his reputation. He and the FTC have settled.
I am not alone in observing the shocking shortcuts startups seem to feel entitled to taking. Colleagues in marketing at a conference predicted, "Some of them will wind up in jail."
Not that established and larger companies are all rule-abiding good corporate citizens. The difference is that there is a system of checks and balances in-place. That's the approval process we ghostwriters and speechwriters know well. Even the material we prepare has to go through legal, accounting, compliance, human resources, and so on. As far as I know, I was never asked to present anything inaccurate or untrue.