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Canada's Admirable Reputation On Closer Inspection...

A Quick Look At the PR Firm Behind The Glowing Headlines

by Daniel Johnson


Headlines are appearing on Conservative social media feeds telling us that Canada is the most 'admired' country in the world, and the articles claim there's research to back up that assertion

This is based on research released by a PR firm called 'The Repuation Institute' that presents itself as a 'reasearch and consultant  organization' whose mission is 'to advance knowledge about corporate reputation and help companies create economic value by implementing coherent reputing strategies.' 

  A spokesperson for The Reputation Institute spoke on Canada AM, Wednesday July 15.  He sounded more like a PR person for Canada's government than a representative of a neutral research organization.  Reading the parameters of the study on the company's website, it becomes even more obvious. 

According to the site, "the study measures the reputation of 55 countries based on levels of trust, esteem, admiration and respect based on an online panel of more than 48,000 people representing the G8 countries. The Study measures a country’s perceptions exploring 16 attributes that include it being viewed as: a safe place to visit, a beautiful country, having friendly and welcoming residents, having progressive social and economic policies, being run by an effective government, and more."

 

  Releasing a 'study' showing that your client is popular is a very common strategy, used by organizations, governments, individual officials and various celebrities and public of all kinds,  but it only works if media present it the way it's intended.  They're made to look like a statistical researcher releasing a poll, of which the 'winner' is incidental to the researcher, but which have clear implications for the winner, who is actually a client of the PR company posing as researchers. 

     How media treats the 'poll' depends on each individual media outlet's editorial policy, which is usually determined by advertisers interests as well as the owners or investors long term political connections.

 So when a PR firm puts out a 'poll' regarding the popularity of certain figures in the media, media who are already friendly to that polls winner will usually present it as legitimate, like CTV did in the case of the 'Reputation Institutes' poll, while media outlets whose editorial policy is hostile or opposed to that poll 'winner' will usually ignore it, or, as Ezra Levant did in the case of the 'David Suzuki Is Most Admired Canadian' story, expose how the poll was done and show that it is not an actual poll but a thinly disguised PR stunt. 

  This is standard practice, it's likely David Suzuki had no idea what his publicists were doing because he seems like the type who let's the professionals he hires do their job. He works within a complex arena where getting a message across requires using avenues of communication that are only available to people who 'play the game' right. 

Individually, it's just celebrities and public figures doing what they have to do within the media industry they have to work within in order to be relevent in their function, but cumulatively it's damaging our society's ability to learn, understand and communicate because virtually every discussion is dominated by agenda driven professionals posing as neutral functionaires.

Being done by so many different public figures for different reasons, tactics used on both 'sides' with virtually every issue, there's no way to know what's true anymore. 

 


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Daniel Johnson (Daniel Johnson)
Regina Sask
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