Why is Research Important in Public Relations?

When I think of Public Relations, my initial thought doesn’t instantly shoot to research, I always thought this was a minor part in this field. After day one of class I realized that I was very wrong. Research is a way to help you understand what audience your client is trying to reach and to gain a better understanding of them. It can also help you to gain trust with the client as well, showing that you know the audience well and that you always have a reason for promoting with a certain tactic, or for example, choosing one advertising agency over the other because you know one will appeal more to women than men.

In order to become successful in the public relations field I believe you must gain trust from clients, the public and from other people you work with. I think gaining the trust of others is important in every field but especially in public relations. One of the ways that people can gain trust is by doing research on the clients and their views on certain components that are important to your campaign. In a newsletter written by Michelle Hinson she talks about how trust and research effect public relations, she said, “Trust and ethics are both business currencies. Being ethical or having ethics can help build trust. Trust, in turn, can help build an ethical foundation”(2014,12). Being trusted in the field can help lead you to be seen as an ethical public relations person which I think this would be the key to landing jobs and clients in this career. Having done your research will show clients that you know your stuff and will in-turn gain your clients trust.

C.V. Narasimha Reddi informs us in the book Effective Public Relations and Media Strategy, “Research is the first step in public relations process to elicit the public opinion and their reactions towards organisational goals and programmes. Research is also called the listening phase of public relations”(2014, 137). This is saying that research happens before developing the final product, it is when we hear what the public is saying or doing. Some tools that Reddi listed to listen to the public include: personal contacts, interviews, advisory committees, the call-in telephone line, media monitoring, etc. I believe that research can be one of the most important aspects of public relations because you are hearing what the public thinks and feels about certain ideas and by listening to the public you can then avoid campaigns that may be seen negatively toward your target audience. For example some stores may be seen negatively with obvious Photoshop body rendering, so some stores like Aerie have made it known that they use REAL women instead of giving women unrealistic body standards. This can be a way to help women relate to your store by having women in the advertising that actually look like real women.

In a blog post written by Elena she says that “Decisions you make on your PR campaign needs to be based on data and not plain instinct or “a hunch.” Where data is available, use it to better understand your market and competition”(n.d, 10). She then gives examples on how researching can help you to become better in public relations. One example she gave was if you saw an increase in social media activity when you released your news. Knowing the data about certain results can help to improve yourself in PR and you can then change what you have done wrong by researching your results after putting out a campaign.

In conclusion, without research you would not know anything about the audience that your client is trying to target, and you couldn’t produce any strategy’s to promote the client. Research plays a huge role in public relations, it allows you to be known as a reliable source which is the basis of the media’s and client’s trust. Having the trust of the client and the media is imperative in public relations.

Elena. 5 Elements of Strategic Public Relations (n.d.). In PR in your Pajamas. Retrieved from http://prinyourpajamas.com/elements-of-strategic-public-relations/

Hinson, M. Trust Me, I’m Ethical! The Relationship Between Trust, Ethics, and Measurement. the Measurement Standard, 1-2. Retrieved from http://www.themeasurementstandard.com/2014/06/trust-me-im-ethical-the-relationship-between-trust-ethics-and-measurement/

REDDI, C. N. (2014). Effective Public Relations and Media Strategy (Second ed., pp. 137). N.p.: PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.


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