PR: Why Research At All?

Knowledge is power. Using this old adage as a guide, the more you know in the PR world, the better you can do your job.  As technology improves and knowledge becomes easier and easier to attain, it becomes much more important to know more. As the world innovates, PR can innovate along with it.

Things happen very quickly in the world of Public Relations. As a result of this fast moving world, it is important to be prepared for anything. There isn’t always time to lay a foundation after things happen, a lot of times you have to be prepared for any situation, so, when a crisis happens, you have the knowledge to take care of it effectively and efficiently.  “No matter what level employee you are – from interns to senior account executives –every decision you make has an impact on your team. With that said, research is critical to making informed decisions,” (Sanchez, 2013)  It is incumbent upon us all when working in Public Relations to use every piece of relevant information attainable to make the best and most responsible decisions that put us or our clients in the most advantageous positions. Doing research puts us in the position to make intelligent and informed decisions quickly. Since it is hard to predict crises, creating the best and most functional foundation for management may be a lot of extra work, but when the inevitable crisis hits, it can reduce stress and make the management of the situation much easier to deal with. Like Laurel English stated in her paper titled, Public Relations in the Real World or Business “Public relations research provides the foundation for almost everything communicators do”(English, n.d.).

Not only does research allow us to make more responsible and informed decisions, it also allows us to grow and innovate Public Relations. We can research current events and understand how they relate to our clients brands and goals, or we can do research to do see how similar PR firms have handled similar situations with comparable brands. By employing this strategy into our research, we are able to innovate the PR world by constantly improving common practices. The blog Progression from Publicity writes the following, “Nestle lost the trust of its publics because of boycotts promoted by interest groups. Nestle did not address the issue until years later. Nestle worked with the National Association of Infant Food Manufactures to end all supplies of infant formula in developing countries and to be continuously committed to ending free baby food supplies to hospitals of third world countries”  (Smith, 2001). If a client came to a PR with a comparable product issue, we could use this as a precedent to show the client how not to act. In this example, Nestle avoided the media and avoided the problem. However, this was shown to be an ineffective and maybe even destructive tactic. Since we have this knowledge today, we know that there are much more effective tactics and strategies to deal with customer issues in a Public Relations arena. However, if a client came to us and we had neglected research, we might be prone to make the same mistakes as previous PR firms had made. Research can be extremely effective to innovate the PR world due to technological improvements and the increased ease of acquisition of information.

References:

English, L. (n.d.). Public relations research in the real world of business. English Communications. Retrieved from http://www.english-communications.com/downloads/WP_Research_chapter.pdf

Sanchez, C. (2013, September 24). 3 Reasons why research is crucial to effective public relations. Retrieved from http://www.webershandwickseattle.com/2013/09/3-reasons-why-research-is-crucial-to-effective-public-relations/

Smith, J. (n.d.).  Research becomes important. Progression from publicity. Retrieved from http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/spring01/jsmith/cocoon.html

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PR: Why Research At All?