While attending the 2014 YouToo Social Media Conference at Kent State University, it seemed one theme speakers kept touching on repeatedly was the importance of organizational-public trust.
However, it seems based on the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer and some other research from the Pew Center, trust is precisely the issue the general public has with institutions like business, media and government.
As all of the crisis communication theorists and professionals will reiterate, telling the truth is as vital for maintaining good business operation as paying the electric bill. In this age of social media, publics, and particularly millennials, will out organizations who are caught lying. The surest way to tear a relationship asunder is to lie.
Studying crisis communication theory has led me to examine a myriad of fascinating cases. The primary ethic that seems to continually resurface in all successful cases is transparency.
Bruce Hennes of Hennes Paynter Communications in Cleveland, Ohio, a leading crisis communications firm, told me the core values of his practice are “tell the truth, tell it all, tell it first.” While seemingly obvious, lack of transparency is often the spark that causes a small incident to erupt in the flames of a full-fledged crisis.