Research in Public Relations

Research is critical to the foundation of Public Relations for any business regardless of the specific industry.  Whether managing a large corporation or a small business you need to know how to position your product to the needs of the public and properly address concerns that may arise.

Proper research is crucial. It provides companies an understanding of how the public might perceive the organization.  Additionally, independent research helps to eliminate any bias within the company.  If company management were to lean only on their own opinions of how they believe the public views them, the company might risk becoming complacent and not realize an opportunity for improvement of their public image.  When a company mismanages a situation facing the public, the best Public Relations firms in the country may not be able change the outcome in the short term.

Acquiring feedback is a primary reason for the research.  Any company or organization needs feedback of how the company is viewed as a part of society.  However, research is also critical as a tool to measure how the company is doing related toward business goals or the PR plan that was put in place for the company.

Understanding if the plan has worked or not allows the organization to choose if they want to keep the plan they are working with now or if they need to modify it or create a totally new plan

This research is usually obtained through customer surveys and other data research methods such as retail surveys, experiments, focus groups, interviews, and content analysis.

The results of the research will help lead the company to three main concepts.

  1. Understanding the client
  2. Finding the market for your good, service or message
  3. Effective choice of the medium used to convey your message

To be successful, companies and organizations require self-awareness.  Engaging in research and using that information to formulate a public image or a message is critical.  Market Research will provide an important outside view of the organization.  When used to formulate the PR plan, it will help to firmly enforce the desired message focused toward the public.

Sources-

Lang, F. (1951). The Role of Research in Public Relations. The Public Opinion Quarterly, 15(1), 54-64. Retrieved January 27, 2014, from http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/stable/2745751

Research gives public relations room to grow. (n.d.). Research gives public relations room to grow. Retrieved January 27, 2014, from http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/spring01/jsmith/cocoon.html

Symes, S. (n.d.). How Is Research Important to Strategic Public Relations Plans?. Small Business. Retrieved January 25, 2014, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/research-important-strategic-public-relations-plans-15586.html

Diversity in Public Relations

For the first time in history there we have a traditional minority candidate as the president of our country.  While many would assume that this would lead to increased diversity and greater acceptance of diversity in the cooperate world, this has not always been the case.

In an article for The Holmes Report, Lee Hayes wrote that the lack of diversity in the PR industry is a dirty little secret. He states, while the communication industry talks about becoming more diverse and is saying all the right things, that the industry hasn’t taken many steps to truly ensure an increase in diversity.  Hayes has spent 20 years in the communications industry and believes the only way that we will see change is that if the large brands will only agree to work with communication firms that demonstrate diversity as well as a dedication to promoting it.

According to the US Census bureau African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans will make up 36.5 percent of the US population and by 2020.  These groups will also account for $3.6 trillion in spending power.  Targeting diversity may be in the best interest of many brands because demonstrating diversity can result in more inclusive marketing to different cultures.

A study conducted in the Howard Journal of Communications, in 1995 examined diversity of the work force in Corporate America.    Although this study is dated, it estimated the diversity of corporate industries was at about 10%.  This total was based on of all companies’ surveyed.  In this specific survey, approximately 61 percent of the results were returned from PR companies.  It’s interesting to note that Lee Hayes who wrote the previously mentioned Holmes Report article entered the work force right around 1995, at the same time as the Howard Journal article.  Therefore, Hayes has experienced diversity in the PR industry and has indicated little change in his 20 years.

The future needs improvement on the diversity front.  Dr. Natalie Tindall, of Georgia State University, states that more work must be done to encourage, retain, and promote minorities in the field of Public Relations.  The mission of the industry has remained similar over the years but it is time to start seeing results so the industry grows and adapts with the constantly changing times in our country.

Sources-

Coffee, P. (2013, November 18). Meet PR’s Diversity Problem. – PRNewser. Retrieved January 20, 2014, from http://www.mediabistro.com/prnewser/meet-prs-diversity-problem_b77958

Diggs-Brown, B., & Zaharna, R. S. (1995). Ethnic diversity in the public relations industry. Howard Journal Of Communications6(1/2), 114-123.

Hayes, L. (2013, February 25). Lack Of Diversity Is PR Industry’s Dirty Little Secret. Lack Of Diversity Is PR Industry’s Dirty Little Secret. Retrieved January 20, 2014, from http://www.holmesreport.com/opinion-info/13071/Lack-Of-Diversity-Is-PR-Industrys-Dirty-Little-Secret.aspx

Tindall, N. (2012, February 7). Diversity in the PR field: Some progress, though challenges persist. PR Daily News: Public Relations news and marketing in the age of social media. Retrieved January 20, 2014, from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/Diversity_in_the_PR_field_Some_progress_though_cha_10753.aspx

I Attempt to Define Public Relations

When enrolling in this Fundamentals course we were asked to give our own definitions of what public relations are and what they entail.  Being asked this made me realize that even though I am not totally in the dark of what Public Relations are that, I am pretty off with what my definition of them was.

My definition of PR was as follows: An organization and how it manages their public profile.

While that definition isn’t the most flawed definition of PR you will see, it only covers a very small sliver of what PR entails.

They way I am used to seeing the work of PR companies is usually in the role of crisis control.  In being a huge sports fan, and spending most of my free time watching athletics I have seen the unheralded work of some of these firms when there is an player or coach who gets himself into an dicey situation.  Usually there will be a PR agent behind the scenes helping to get the individuals image back to where it was at before the discretion.

Information control is a major role of public relations however it is not only trying to get information to the public, they also try to control the info that is sent out to investors, employees, other shareholders and those who have stake in a company.

There are many similarities between PR and, marketing, advertising, journalism.  Our book helped me understand more about what PR is when I read that PR is a management process to build and maintain a hospitable environment for an organization.

PR is a field that while doing many day-to-day operations does not get much notice in an normal business day.  That seems to be the goal if your job is to work PR you want to do your job well so no one has to know what your doing, keeping everything running smooth, and out of the criticism of public.