Research, Action, Communication, and Evaluation are four functions that are key for development in the public relations field. All four functions must be completed for public relations to be effective. The first of these functions is research. This is important on many different levels. First, it is crucial to understand the company being represented is all about and what message is being released to the public. Research can also be done for a company to retrieve information needed to create a campaign, for example who using their product or service more, therefore discovering their target audience. Finally, because research is becoming more vital in PR, those working in the field should be a part of the business plan from the beginning with completed research so when questions or problems arise, they can be addresses properly.
Chrystl Sanchez, and assistant account executive at Weber Shandwick Seattle, wrote in a blog post that there are three main reasons to why research is so important to PR. The first reason she lists is “Research Helps You Strategize” and explains her point, “strategy is key in order to maximize efficiency and minimize costs across the board.” Her other two reasons were “Research Helps Substantiate Your Claims” and “Research Allows You to Make Informed Decisions” (Sanchez, 2013). All three reasons explain the importance of research in PR very clearly. Stratagizing, making decisions, and being able to explain those decisions are all necessary to be successful when representing a company or client.
In a blog post written by Ray Eskritt, the importance of research in public relations was analyzed from a business perspective, “Thorough and well thought out research is your best friend, no matter your place of employment. It removes the faulty concept of common sense, and replaces it with hard facts… All of a sudden opinion becomes less important and accuracy can take over” (Eskritt, 2012, par.5). The statement by Eskritt reveals that in the business world, common sense isn’t always the best way to take action with out having any research to support it. More companies would prefer having hard facts and be able to see the statistics when making a public relations or advertising campaign than only having conceptual ideas.
Don Stacks, author of Primer of Public Relations Research, Second Edition wrote about the reason for why research is growing and is used so often in public relations. “Finally, as public relations become increasingly global in theory and practice, there is a need for better understanding of complex social and economic issues. Public relations practices should be practice; that is, they should be brought in before problems arise rat hat than only afterward. A larger and more comprehensive body of knowledge is needed to address questions dealing with change in social and economic environments, change and change management, crisis communication, and so on” (Stacks, 2010, pg.16). Stacks makes the claim again, like many others who work in PR, that public relations should be brought in before the problems arise, not just after. With already completed research, problems and issues can be fixed before they even arise to become must larger issues.
Eskritt, R. (2012, March 11). The Importance of Research. In Peacock PR. Retrieved September 14, 2014, from http://peacock-pr.blogspot.com/2012/03/importance-of-research.html
Sanchez, C. (2013, September 24). 3 Reasons Why Research Is Crucial to Effective Public Relations. In Weber Shandwick Seattle. Retrieved September 13, 2014, from http://www.webershandwickseattle.com/2013/09/3-reasons-why-research-is-crucial-to-effective-public-relations/
Stacks, D. W. (2010, July 13). Primer of Public Relations Research, Second Edition. p.16 Retrieved September 14, 2014, from eblib.com.