Wednesday, March 28, 2018

‘Not hype. Not spin. But truth. If public relations is to retain its position as the credible source, we must not…’

A legendary PR guru passed away earlier this week, but his words describing PR ring loud and clear.
Thomas Harris, former President, GolinHarris, now known as Golin, was among the among PRWeek’s 100 Most Influential Public Relations People of the 20th Century. He was 87.
“Truth is what we are all about,” he wrote in his personal message to students in Legacies from Legends edition of the Plank Center, the University of Alabama. “Not hype. Not spin. But truth. If public relations is to retain its position as the credible source, we must not blur the line between information and propaganda, between advocacy and salesmanship. The old description of public relations as ‘the conscience of the corporation’ is more relevant than ever in today’s complex society. The highest calling of PR is to keep our organization on straight paths, to counsel the powers-that-be not just to say the right thing but to do the right thing. In the future, our job will be more vital. We will be often called upon to assume the role of gatekeeper that has traditionally been played by the media. Our greatest value to our organizations, the media and our stakeholders must always be to separate information from misinformation and disinformation, and tell it like it is.”
Harris led a career that stretched decades across the PR and advertising industry, according to a statement quoted in PRWeek. He was the Adjunct Professor in the Master’s programme in Integrated Marketing Communications, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University.
He also authored four books including The Marketer's Guide to Public Relations How Today's Top Companies Are Using the New PR to Gain a Competitive Edge "Tom Harris has done more than anyone else to explain how public relations should be an important element in the marketing process. Every marketer should read this book." - Joe Cappo, Vice President/Publisher Advertising Age "Tom Harris might well be consumer marketing management's next folk hero. His book provides a wealth of information that will be useful to consumer marketing executives and public relations professionals alike." - Harold Burson, Chairman Burson Marsteller "Tom Harris illustrates how companies can gain competitive advantages in the vicious marketing climate of the 1990s while reducing costs. This book will be must reading at business schools like Chicago, Stanford, and Harvard." - Robert L. Dilenschneider, President The Dilenschneider Group "It's all here: what to do and what not to do, checklists and case histories, even crisis management and minority marketing. Best of all, it's projected through the experience of a true professional in marketing PR. All you need is this book and a client."
- John O'Toole, President American Association of Advertising Agencies "I just could't stop reading Tom's book. It's right on the money and demonstrates clearly, comprehensively, and scientifically the critical role that public relations plays in marketing consumer products - and shows why it's going to be increasingly important in the future." - Daniel J. Edelman, Chairman and CEO Daniel J. Edelman, Inc.
The Marketer’s Guide to Public Relations: How Today’s Top Companies Are Using the New PR to Gain a Competitive Edge.


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