Avoid Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt in PR

June 30, 2011

By Mike
I recently wrote about the pitfalls of PR drawn from the principles of FUD—fear, uncertainty and doubt. As Facebook can attest, launching a smear campaign can land you in hot water with the media, but this is not the only reason why avoiding FUD benefits you and your clients.
Smear campaigns are likely to start trash-talk wars between you and competitors. Nobody wins in those situations. These attacks also belie any claims your client might make about the quality of its offering. Is the company's product not good enough? Must it focus instead on the faults of competitors? Extol the virtues of your client and its product; that is more likely to resonate with customers, anyway. Remember, all that time you spend talking about other companies is time you are not spending publicizing your own company or client.
Journalists are also more likely to respond to authentic customer feedback than to negative reports from competitors or unnamed sources. Focus on your client and what customers have to say about its product. This will give you a better chance of editorial coverage.
On a moral basis, smear campaigns violate PR ethics. The Public Relations Society of America's Code of Ethics requires PR pros to be, “truthful and honest in all communications.” Using FUD tactics break that code.
And while smear campaigns take place daily in the world of PR, this doesn't mean you have to participate. It is much more rewarding to take the high road and focus on the virtues of your own client -- and how the company is helping customers, rather than on the faults of its competitors.

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