Yes. They all do… or at least they should. Research is a fundamental part of every PR campaign, it provides them with the knowledge necessary for producing excellent and well-defined work. Keeping up with research can be time-consuming and sometimes even monotonous, but it is an essential part of every PR campaign. The research will give options on how to work on a specific job, helps to maintain the reputation of a firm, and can even save lots of time and money.
There are a few kinds of research involved in PR. When taking on a new client the PR practitioner must have ample research done on the client in order to fully understand the problem at hand. There must also be some form of understanding on how the client’s market works, what kind of audience they are attracting and the strategies involved in reaching them; this can be done using population research, taking a census, or sampling from a target population. It is important to utilize primary and secondary research, actively investigating a situation as well as utilizing information gathered from past projects (Smith, 2016). It is important to note that the work of one’s peers is a perfectly fine place to get started when researching, but that original ideas and tactics must also be involved in the process as well.
Doing enough research helps to ensure that a PR practitioner both keeps his job and doesn’t look foolish. Don Stacks writes, “without research, practitioners are left to ‘fly by the seat of their pants’… taking, at best, educated guesses regarding the problem” (Stacks, 2011, p. 6). Keep in mind that a client, especially one that has worked with PR before, will be able to see right through an unprepared practitioner. Not only will it hurt his reputation with the client but also the reputation of both the firm and his own career. Unless he somehow gets incredibly lucky, work done without the proper research will more than likely never reach its full potential.
Research is not only about avoiding costly mistakes but also can lead to saving your firm lots of money. It is important to consider the benefits of research in a Public Relations campaign. When a good amount of research is conducted before the campaign, it saves the time and effort involved in picking up the pieces. According to Donald Jugenheimer, research can save money by helping to shorten the time for new ideas, preventing rash decision making, and if done well, it can even give opportunities for potential products or services to offer. Not only that but if a firm keeps up on its research it can get a leg up on its competition by finding new methods and helping your work change with its targeted audience (Jugenheimer, 2014). Simply put, research makes a campaign faster, smarter, and a step above the competition.
So, do Public Relations practitioners actually conduct research? They better. If they want to stand out at their jobs, make more money, and be on the foregrounds of the field, research is crucial in doing so.
Jugenheimer, D. W. (2014). Needs for Research in Advertising and Public Relations. In Advertising and Public Relations Research (pp. 1-5). Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, Inc.
Smith, R. D. (2016). Research Methods. Retrieved January 30, 2017, from https://www.ron-smith.com/research-methods-for-public-relations
Stacks, D. W. (2011). Understanding Research. In Primer of Public Relations Research (2nd ed., pp. 5-10). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.