Saturday, October 2, 2010

Do The Right Thing

I recently began reading "Do The Right Thing" by James Hoggan. It is a really great read so far. He begins by stressing the importance of credibility and that it cannot be created. It's built solely on performance. Hoggan defines public relations as the art and science of earning credibility and building goodwill among all those who are important to your business.

Hoggan developed a tactic called the "Hoggan approach," which he believes can help public professionals. They are:
1. Do the right thing.
2. Be seen doing the right thing.
3. Don't get #1 and #2 mixed up.
The public respects organizations or companies that are trustworthy much more than ones that are not. From a PR standpoint, being the stand-up guy when bad things happen looks better than trying to "put a spin on things." When you step up quickly, acknowledge that there is indeed an issue, give an apology and assure that it will not happen again, things will turn around rather fast. The goal is for your organization to state the crisis first. If the story is broken by some other organization, the public will assume that the issue was being covered up by your organization.

The public is more than likely to trust a company when it is seen doing the right thing. Companies that are actively engaged in the community attract an audience. Community service looks really good for organizations. Actions speak louder than words—cliché I know—but when the company is seen doing the right thing, their actions helps back the company up in a crisis situation. No, I am not stating that once a controversial issue comes out about your organization that you should jump in community service because this will not save you. Always being actively involved in the community helps take the pressure of the issue the organization is involved in.

Hoggan reassures his readers to not get the first two tactics mixed up. He states "do the right thing because it's the right thing to do." Do not engage in these tactics with a public relations mindset because the public will be able to easily distinguish between the two.

We all are aware of the BP Oil spill that occurred earlier this year. This caused an uproar in every community, especially the Gulf Coast because people along the Gulf were directly affected. Below is BP's latest commercial that I found on YouTube, and BP have successfully followed the Hoggan approach.


  1. Kayla I wrote about this book too. It really opened my eyes to why it's so important to do the right thing in our profession. I like your summary and the video was a nice touch to it!

    -LaToya Chambliss

  2. Kayla,
    I agree that the video B.P has provided is a great way to attempt to regain public trust and credibility. This tactic is appreciated, but does not erase the formative steps that were disregarded. I am more than confident a skilled PR professional counseled management regarding the risks B.P could face if they neglected the issue at hand. Did management listen? This is a common struggle in public relations. But as budding PR professionals it is our job to know what to do, why we are doing it and be able to persuade people that it is important.

  3. Kayla, I totally agree with you. Public relations is one profession in which integrity plays an important part. James Hoggan really drove this point home in his book and provided great examples to back it up. In addition, the BP video that you have posted is a great example of what Hoggan was trying to teach.