PRSA Perspective: Partnership & Trust are Key

By Erin Russ on May 22nd, 2017

A few weeks ago, we were fortunate to have the PRSA Georgia Chapter 2017 Annual Conference hosted here in Atlanta. This conference provided attendees the opportunity to gain insight into emerging trends, share successful strategies in the industry and network with leading PR professionals from across the state.

During the conference, two large themes were apparent and are consistent with what we’ve been discussing here at Dodge and in the media as well: trust and partnership. The fact is that trust in institutions, businesses and government is at an all-time low, which can greatly impact your company’s brand, as it affects the ability to build strong partnerships with consumers. Without authentic, personalized relationships with consumers, a brand’s reputation and overall success may be impacted. Evidenced by the recent brand issues we’ve seen in the media, it’s important to build and keep trust, and be authentically apologetic when your brand makes a mistake.

These themes permeated throughout many of the sessions. A few highlights are below and key takeaways included:

  • Truth and facts matter. We heard from Kevin Riley, editor at Atlanta’s own AJC, and Richard Griffiths, former CNN vice president and senior editorial director, about the state of journalism today. Both experts stressed the need for PR and media to be transparent on how we collect and report news, own mistakes when we get things wrong and listen to our audiences about what is important to them. Being authentic through this process helps to build trust with those we are trying to reach.
  • Partnership is the key to success. Evident in almost every session was that most everything is centered on  building partnerships. Tyler Pearson, director of public relations at WellStar Health System, spoke about his experience using partnerships to communicate change as the health system acquired multiple locations overnight. Pearson leaned on his local and internal relationships to make the acquisition communication a success. His biggest piece of advice: authentic partnerships with the media, WellStar patients and both existing and new employees are crucial for success.
  • Be a partner for trusted decision-making. People want to get the facts, understand how things impact their lives and decide how they feel. Consumers are relying on brands and partners they trust to provide them with content and data they need, but want to feel empowered to make their own decisions. This is a huge opportunity for brands to build credibility, confidence and trust and become a go-to partner for consumers when they make important choices.

With these key takeaways in mind, what is your organization doing to foster authenticity and trust with its consumers?

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