Public relations has come a long way in the past 100 years. PR is no longer an “in case of emergency” agency. Now PR is one of the best business fields in the world. Every organization or corporation needs a PR firm and without one, they may as well have a sinking ship and hole in their lifeboat. But what makes public relations so valuable to a company?
According to PRSA, the definition of public relations is “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” In PR the only way to build relations with organizations and public, or audiences, is to do research. Research? What? That’s not in the definition. Think of it this way: you are on a first date and you ask him/her questions about himself/herself in order to get to know them better. Even though it doesn’t seem like it, that is research. Research is the key to building relationships in PR.
Researching allows PR professionals to know more about and understand their clients, future clients, and target audiences. To be beneficial to an organization, PR must research virtually everything that has to do with the product a business is trying to sell and what the public wants from the business. Let’s say a new business has started that sells cotton candy in the shape of flowers and animals. Of course they have been gearing their advertising toward children, but their marketing department made the ads have small amount of adult humor, so parents would feel more inclined to buy their children the shaped sugar. Unfortunately the ads failed and some reviews called the business out about the adult humor. The business went to a public relations firm for help. The PR firm researched what ages 3-10 typically watch on television, what interests them, how many children like cotton candy, and so on. The firm then relayed the information back to the new business so they could make their new ads acceptable to the age group they are trying to sell to. The public relations firm’s research saved the new business.
Without proper research it would be nearly impossible to build relationships in business or regain the interest of publics.