September is recognized as Ethics Month by PRSA. This month the Capstone Agency PRSA Alabama client team worked to raise awareness about the PRSA Code of Ethics through the #EthicsStartWithYou campaign. The Code of Ethics was created to serve as a guide throughout the personal and professional aspects of your life. Remaining ethical in the public relations industry is essential not only because we serve the public good, but because without an industry-wide ethical standard, trust in PR professionals diminishes.
In order to emphasize that ethics are crucial in both the professional and personal spheres of life, we created the #EthicsStartWithYou hashtag. We consistently used this hashtag throughout the monthlong campaign in weekly newsletters, social media content, emails and promotional materials.
A large aspect of the campaign was the weekly newsletters we sent to local PRSSA chapters. These newsletters discussed topics of plagiarism, importance of factual information, social media utilization, and user data and intellectual property. Each newsletter included an interactive element that allowed viewers to test their skills; we took this as an opportunity to further emphasize that #EthicsStartWithYou.
The pinnacle of our campaign was the “PR Ethics: Take It Personally With Lilly Ledbetter” event. Ledbetter is a pioneer for working toward equal rights in the workplace, and her battle inspired the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, a law passed in 2009 that increases protections from pay discrimination. The event included a keynote speech, breakout sessions to network with local PRSSA chapters and PRSA professionals, and a book signing with Ledbetter.
After living and breathing ethics in preparation for and during the campaign, I can honestly say I’ve increased my ethical practices in my personal, professional and academic endeavors. Serving as one of the lead media coordinators for the campaign, I was able to create the majority of written content and social media coverage. It was an honor to create the messaging used to explain why ethics truly are so important, and it was especially encouraging to interact with viewers on social media in ethics conversations.
Overall, the #EthicsStartWithYou campaign was very successful in raising awareness and action in ethical practices through high attendance at the PR Ethics events, as well as initiating thought-provoking conversations centering around ethics. Even though Ethics Month is coming to a close, that doesn’t mean the fight toward an ethical workplace should also halt. We hope people continue to Take It Personally and implement ethics into all aspects of their lives.
By Katrina Waelchli, VP of Social Media