Spin? Really?

Spin? Really?

photo credit: Andreanna Moya

In more than 20 years working in corporate communications, many things have changed, but there has always been one constant: the word spin is offensive. Insulting. Degrading. This term is used in a negative way to infer that PR practitioners have the ability to “spin” the public like a spin doctor. Wikipedia suggests we have the ultimate power to be manipulative, disingenuous, deceptive…Really? (single eyebrow raise).

My team has seen me straighten out a would-be client when they suggest that we “spin” their story. I have also addressed this word with countless journalists…I am always entertained when media tell me I am spinning them…Really? (incredulous). I have that power? I can tell you what to write?

Let’s analyze the facts. Any blue chip company or CEO that tries to gloss over the facts, bury bad news, or lie to their customers will have a very short shelf life. Long gone are the days when PR people could tell the public what they needed to hear, when it was convenient for them. In fact, last I heard that may have been in the 1950s when PR people had three martini lunches. With the explosion of social media, the customers are now the ones that demand facts, information and education – all at the speed of light. Our role is not to “spin.” Our role is to disseminate information, sift through and sort it in such a way that stakeholders understand it before communicating it to a broad array of audiences in the fastest time possible.

Our firm, which celebrated 15 years this year, would not be in business if we were spin doctors.  I mean, who would want to talk to us? Think about it…we actually have two separate sets of “clients”…our corporate clients that need help getting information out…and the media clients who need information, before their deadlines, all the time. These are the same media that we’ve done business with day-in and day-out for 15 years…how long do you think our relationship would last if we lied or manipulated them? About five minutes. So we balance between the needs of our clients and the needs of the media. But…we balance with the truth. And if we don’t know the answer, we say, “hey, we don’t know the answer but let us try to find out for you.”

So, take the word spin out of your dictionary. Unless you are at the laundromat…Really.

Mat Wilcox


~ by Wilcox Group Team on June 3, 2010.

One Response to “Spin? Really?”

  1. Rant away Mat… such true words. Nicely done!!

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