What’s your confidentiality & trust worth?
Today, I wanted to talk about a topic I was reminded of a few days ago which I believe is paramount in both business and life. They say everyone has a price, but is that true? Would you be a sellout for the right amount of money or are your confidentiality and trust priceless?
A few days ago a national newspaper contacted me because they wanted me to comment on one of the celebrities I worked with a few years ago even though it was meant to be confidential. A PR firm had given my name to them without permission as a link to a client which was meant to be kept private.
Whereas some people would see this as a good opportunity to get their name attached to a celeb in a national newspaper and get extra publicity for their name or brand to potentially attract new clients, to me it would be a break of trust, something I would never be willing to do.
They even offered to keep my name private to get information, but from my side it’s still a no. I get to work behind the scenes because I build trust with clients and to me, trust and confidentiality are everything. Which is what got me thinking on this topic.
We see this all the time in newspapers and magazines, the so called ‘kiss and tell’ stories where people will do anything for their 15 minutes of fame. To me, my word is my bond.
Not only do we see this on public profiles but in business and life in general, so I ask you, would you be a sellout for 15 minutes of fame or to get ahead in your career, or would you rather stay true to your word?
I’d love to hear people’s opinions on this subject. Throughout the years and all the industries I have worked in, I have seen this breach of trust happening and I’d like to understand if this is the way we are culturally evolving? Or if we can truly stay true to who we are and build successful businesses and relationships by having honesty, trust & integrity.
To me, success without integrity means nothing. And hey, trust me when I say I have been made offers many could not refuse, but to this day I am proud to say my confidentiality & trust remain one of my biggest USP’s when it comes to business and also daily life relationships. Although this doesn’t mean people haven’t broken mine as we can see by this PR firm whom I have not even worked with for a few years.
Here is the interesting fact about the national newspaper contacting me. Although they did not mentioned the name of the PR firm, based on the client’s name I knew straight away who it was. Whether this PR firm was doing it for a bit of extra publicity or maybe they have had a fallout with the client, to me it’s very disappointing. In both business & life we are going to have bad experiences, but that should never be a reason to sell someone out.
As digital consultants and advisors, when we work with clients, we have access to data that should always remain confidential. Strategies used and what we do should always remain behind the scenes. So to find a PR firm who now is willing to sell out on a client, to me it breaks the codes of ethics.
Let’s go back a few years when social media truly started booming and social media managers did not event exist in the capacity they do now. When I first started working in this crazy online world, there were a lot of PR firms and SEO companies who were not proficient on Social Media or other digital strategies and would hire consultants like myself to get the work done on 3rd party accounts and clients.
I have always made sure I tell anyone I work with that confidentiality is paramount in both ends so these boundaries are set from a very early point. Unfortunately not everyone does that and there are people out there who see a loophole because they never signed an NDA or confidentiality agreement so they feel they can sell out because technically they are not.
To me, once you enter into any relationship, unless it’s been spoken about on both parties, what’s said or done should always be kept private. There are times of course when we do public appearances with celebs or we attach our name to something because it’s already been agreed upon. But sometimes these hunts by newspapers and people’s willingness to get further in their careers by, let’s put it in simple terms “screw someone over” baffles me.
As mentioned, I have seen this happen many times even with people I know and although I always wonder why, I understand it’s part of life and it’s something that won’t stop anytime soon. I remember when I started to evolve and grow in my career in the digital world and people would use my name and fake testimonial on their websites. I used to get pretty mad about it, now I think it’s sad people have to fabricate testimonials or comments to get a story.
As human beings we strive to be people of good character and integrity but everyday we are tempted with choices that jeopardize that. It is up to us, as individuals to make the right choices and be happy with them.
I think nowadays we use the term “trust me” too loosely and people don’t mean it when they say it. Regaining trust is one of the hardest things to do in life, so before you break it, think twice about why you are doing it.
Live, laugh, be bold, take risks & be super mega awesome