Friday, August 15, 2008

Full Disclosure, Please

Surveys are an effective tool to establish third-party validation of a concept, competency or company…except when there is a lack of full disclosure.

Take PRSourceCode’s annual survey to identify the “Top Tech Communicators." The company that conducted the assessment provides public relations professionals and journalists with a suite of information products and services designed to increase their efficiency on the job. Sounds good.

Plus, they queried more than 800 IT journalists to identify the public relations agencies, corporate PR departments and practitioners who rate the best in terms of responsiveness, reliability and overall recognition of editorial needs. OK…works for me.

So, where does everything fall down with this survey? One of the PR shops recognized as being the “best of the best” in the large agency category is O’Keeffe & Company. In fact, this agency has achieved the distinction every year the survey has been conducted.

What is not disclosed is that the same individual who owns O’Keeffe & Company also happens to own PRSourceCode. In fact, they share the same office address at 921 King Street in Alexandria, VA. Hmmm…makes you wonder.

Admittedly, I have no knowledge of the methodology used to conduct this survey nor have I seen the raw data. Everything may very well be on the up and up.

However, the failure to disclose the connection between PRSourceCode and one of the honorees denigrates the credibility of the survey.

Staying true to the interest of full disclosure, here are a few things I need to acknowledge:

--Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) has never been recognized in this survey even though we work very hard to maintain productive and mutually beneficial relationships with the journalists who cover our clients’ industries.

--We often compete against O’Keeffe & Company, especially in the area of business-to-government public relations.

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