“Why Research at all?” is quite the silly question when pertaining to Public Relations, mainly because research is EVERYTHING in PR campaign planning, okay well not everything, but almost! Without research we wouldn’t have the basic understand on which we would plan the campaign. “Research provides the information required to understand the needs of publics and to develop powerful messages” (Wilcox, 2013, p. 90).
There are multiple different types of research conducted in order to have a successful campaign. For example, formative research refers to the research done prior to the campaign, this educates and gives a basic understanding on which to build the campaign. Next, the research done during and after the campaign is known as evaluative research. This helps us understand “what went right?”, “what went wrong”, and how to do better next time , as well as, distinguishing if the campaign was successful in terms of meeting the objectives. Social media is often times used in evaluative research “in social media it’s key to find where members of your target public are interacting on a relevant topic. That’s where you should be and what you should measure” (Wilcox, 2013, p. 93)
Why is research important for a company’s public image? “Research, when conducted properly, eliminates bias and gives the leaders of a company a realistic picture of how various members of the public perceive the organization” (The Houston Chronicle, 2013). If the company didn’t look outside their own biased opinions to research how the public might see the organization they wouldn’t know how to improve the organization. In order to find out what is most important in the eyes of the public it’s essential to research to find out feedback.
It’s clear that research is imperative so why isn’t more research done, because research is incredibly time consuming and expensive. “Studies show that public relations departments typically spend 3-5 percent of their budgets on research; however, some experts argue that this share should be as much as 10 percent” (Wilcox, 2013, p. 91). Overall, in order to have a successful public relations campaign it’s effortless to recognize the relevance and importance of research.
Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., Shin, Jae-hwa. (2013). THINK: Public Relations. Upper saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.
The Houston Chronicle (2013). How is Research Important to Strategic Public Relations Plans? Retrieved from