Information is a big word in the Public relations world; interpersonal communication, creativity, negotiation, and problem solving are some of the skills a PR professional must have; in order to apply all of those skills, accurate and up to date information is needed. To obtain these information a well done research needs to be conducted.
“A little bit of effort and research can go a long way in PR” (Sanchez, 2013).
Decision-making is not an easy task especially if the person is in a high position and the decision he or she has to take will affect a group of people or a whole organization. However, this task could be easier by doing a good research. Sanchez (2013) explained that research is critical in making informed decisions, where the person will be able to support his or her argument with solid evidence instead of a personal opinion or a hunch. For young professionals and recently college graduates research could be a very effective tool to support the ideas they share with their teams, superiors, or even their clients (Sanchez, 2013).
As Bowen et al. (2010) stated, “Research makes communication two-way by collecting information from publics rather than one-way, which is a simple dissemination of information.” A two-way communication occurs in primary research, where more interaction and engaging with the public are needed. Furthermore, by communicating with the public and understanding them and their thoughts and believes, researchers could gather rich information and specifics that could be very helpful in the PR plan.
Another benefit from conducting research is saving capital and time by showing results that could change the course of action the team or the organization is going to take. For example, the results might show that the communication method the organization is using has a small rate of effectiveness; on the other hand, the research result could lead to a new way the organization might consider (Bowen et al., 2010).
PR campaigns need strategic planning, and strategic planning needs research. I mentioned in my last post that PR is part of the marketing mix, and very important in identifying the target market, and that where research takes place. Symes (n.d.) pointed out that research could eliminate bias information about the organization itself, and provide neutral information so the top management can see a clear image of the public’s opinion about the company.
In addition, Symes noted that research could show the strength and weaknesses of the organization. The research outlines the available resources the organization can use in implementing a PR plan. In contrast, it could show the resources that the company do not have and still need to obtain. Getting feedback from the public is another reason why research is such a useful tool to PR campaigns. Feedback could highly affect the organization and the PR plan, where it shows if the objectives of the PR plan are accomplished, how well are they accomplished, and how effective are they.
“Without research, public relations would not be a true management function” (Bowen et al., 2010).
Bowen, S., Rawlins, B., & Martin, T. (2010). Public Relations Research: The Key to Strategy. In An Overview of the Public Relations Function (Vol. 1). New York [N.Y.: Business Expert Press.
Sanchez, C. (2013, September 24). 3 Reasons Why Research Is Crucial to Effective Public Relations. In Weber Shandwick. Retrieved September 14, 2014, from http://www.webershandwickseattle.com/2013/09/3-reasons-why-research-is-crucial-to-effective-public-relations/
Symes, S. (n.d.). How Is Research Important to Strategic Public Relations Plans?. In Chron. Retrieved September 15, 2014, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/research-important-strategic-public-relations-plans-15586.html