According to MikeWorldWide founder and CEO Michael Kempner, one of the biggest changes in the communications industry over recent years is the growing importance of reputation and purpose.

"In an era of reputation," Kempner says, "we judge companies and brands by more than what they make or say, we judge them by how they show up in the world. This makes caring the most enduring form of relevance and the most valuable form of currency we have."

That shift in prorities, he tells Doug Simon, "really should mean the golden age of public relations. That’s what we do. We help companies find and communicate their purpose."

Kempner calls caring "the antidote to cancel culture," but he cautions that "it has to be genuine, it has to be real, has to be authentic."

The payoff, he says is that "when you show people you care, they will too. They will advocate, invest, share, buy your product."

It will also affect who wants to work for a company, Kempner says. "People will determine whether they want to work for you, or whether they want to buy your product, very much by your reputation."

Staying on top of "detractors that will advocate against you as much as they will for you" is also key. "You can never stop every negative comment or a disgruntled employee, but if you come to work every day, and do the right thing, and are true to your purpose, it goes a long way toward people understanding and believing your story rather than that of a random third party."

Because of that, crisis communications are extremely important. "Crisis communications has to be incorporated into everything you do and to really understand the potential downsides, and how you can work to prevent them."

Communicating with employees—and listening to them—is also essential. Employers, Kempner says, need to understand that things like self-care and mental health are just as important as salary and title to many employees today. Companies need to focus on the "full employee experience, because it's very different, almost the antithesis of how you and I grew up, and how we were motivated."

The secret to making that connection with employees, he tells Simon is pretty simple. "I would say that a purpose, authenticity, communication are the three most important things, along with reasonable work hours, fair pay, and treating employees the way that you'd want to be treated."

View all of the interviews in the “PR's Top Pros Talk” series. Subscribe to get notified when new episodes are available.

Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]

D S Simon Media helps clients get their stories on television through satellite media tours and by producing and distributing content to the media. The company also produces live social media events.