Research provides insights. Period.
Every advertising or public relations textbook I have read emphasizes the importance of research because it provides information that can create sunny solutions — as opposed to cloudy guesses. Authors Bowen, Martin and Rawlins (2010) of the book titled, An Overview of the Public Relations Function states:
Research makes communication two-way by collecting information from publics rather than one-way, which is a simple dissemination of information. Research allows us to engage in dialouge with publics, understanding their beliefs and values, and working to build understanding on their part of the internal workings and policies of the organization. (p. 77)
We need research in PR to help generate solutions that will relate to our publics and to collect relevant data (duh, it’s 2016, not 2003!). Using various types of research (secondary, primary, syndicated, qualitative, applied etc.) will help develop a well-rounded perspective of solutions; as compared to relying on un-researched hunches.
Look around, research is everywhere.
I can’t imagine owning a company and letting someone call the shots for my business based off of their “intuition” hell no! Give me the concrete evidence, is this really going to work? How does this relate to my publics/target audience? Can I really trust your solutions? Do you have any statistics to back it up? Research is hard, time-consuming, expensive and stressful, but it is necessary.
A blog post written by Megan R. Auren emphasizes the importance of research due to the potential access to industry movements or trends that can provide insights into a future direction (Auren, 2015). In the beginning, of any PR solution, you must create a groundwork of research to build upon; this also creates an infrastructure that will help you stay on track throughout the process (Auren, 2015).
At Grand Valley State University the CAP 115 course (Research Basics for Advertising and Public Relations) is used to help students understand the need for research in these fields of study. This course focuses on the different types of research and how to conduct or find them through databases. CAP 115 showed us how to solve a problem using relevant, credible, and carefully executed research.
Research is the infrastructure to any Public Relations campaign.
A blog post titled The Importance of Background Research states, “The best PR and marketing companies research well and provide outstanding results” (Hattrick, 2015). According to the blog, research provides primarily discussion and neutral information to keep your ship sailing safely– this also decreases peril (Hattrick, 2015). When compiling or creating primary research that includes statistics, that has the ability to create emphasis or in these terms “good publicity” (Hattrick, 2015).
Oh, they did their research? Well, it must work then!
Sometimes this isn’t always the case, but with the use of research, we are able to edit all possible solutions to create more stable answers for our clients. Research is the backbone of any campaign. There are many steps that are involved before you can create a plan for research (what is the problem, what information do we need, possible solutions, industry trends we need to look into etc.), predetermining these questions helps provide focus and decreases the loss of time and money.
Auren, M. R. (2015, September 10). Just how important is research in public relations?. In Skogrand. Retrieved on 2016, January 24.
Bowen, S. A., Rawlins, B., & Martin, T. (2010). An Overview of the Public Relations Function (p. 77). New York, NY: Business Expert Press. Retrieved on 2016, January 24.
Hattrick. (2015). The importance of background research. In Hattrick. Retrieved on 2016, January 24.