Why professionalism matters

By Leslie Galbreath 

Seems pretty straightforward, right? Wrong. I find myself musing on this subject after recently receiving an outlandish pitch from a sales representative. The pitch was comprehensive in the sense that it included insults, sarcasm, sexism, threats and, most importantly, inaccurate and half-formed data. Basically, the message was, “You better buy my stuff you silly girl or you’ll be sorry.”

Those of you who know me can imagine my response to a sales pitch like this. But it got me thinking about the importance of qualities such as transparency, accuracy, fairness, honesty and diplomacy in the workplace – essentially, the professional values that make up the code of ethics I and my agency adhere to in our daily lives.

To me, these are not just words, these are guiding principles that mean something. They mean something in terms of the way we work with our clients, our media partners, our vendors and most importantly each other. Applying these values to the work we do creates trust and confidence. It ensures that we can offer the objective, informed counsel our clients expect from us. It makes it easy to avoid conflicts of interest. It allows us to advocate for our clients in a way that always serves them, the industry and the public interest at the same time. Applying this code of ethics improves our profession, and creates standards against which we measure ourselves. In other words, it keeps everyone accountable.

The pitch also got me thinking about the pragmatism of an approach like this. Who did this person think he would persuade? What meeting did he have with his advisors that they emerged with this as their best idea? Who are his advisors?

Chief among my responsibilities is loyalty to my clients and the brands they hold dear. At dgs, I make decisions and recommendations for my business and my clients based on key factors such as research and objectives. But I also make decisions based on professionalism and what is in the best interest of my clients and their reputations. I take this very seriously, as if each of them were my own company.

It used to be said that manufacturing was a relationship business. As communication has become faster, more digital in nature and broader in scope, it’s also become a numbers game which allow us as marketers to target our actions and measure out the fluff to the benefit of our clients. It’s hard to argue with data. But no matter how you look at it, at the heart of every industry and every company is people. All the data in the world means nothing if you can’t trust the messenger.

No one likes a bully, and in the end, the truth always wins out.

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