PUBLIC RELATIONS AND RESEARCH – A TALE OF ASSOCIATION

Ms. Amrita Chakraborty: Assistant Professor

HOD - Applied Communication and Market Research RKU

On first thought, public relation seems to be all about strategizing intelligently and communicating effectively. As a field that is largely utilitarian and practice-oriented, public relations don’t automatically get associated with research – both primary and secondary. However, practicing PR professionals would know that a proper publicity plan can never be concocted without having to take recourse to hardcore and extensive research. As they say, research holds the key to an effective communication strategy.  While hackles might be raised, let us try and find out the areas where research could go a long way in raising public relations to a different level altogether:
  1. Justifying Your Plan to Your Client: When you present your publicity plan to a client, chances are that your client will bombard you with a barrage of questions. If you have done your homework and have already conducted a thorough research on the subject, it would be a cakewalk convincing the client. A publicity plan encompasses a bevy of individual constituents and each such constituent involves meticulous fact-finding to meet the desired target.
  2. Know Your Market: As and when you pitch a product or a service to a potential market, you need to first decipher as to who your target audience are. Secondly, you need to do a proper market research that would cover the individual traits of your target audience including their lifestyle, preferences, financial status and group behaviour. This is absolutely essential in constructing the perfect public relations plan.
  3. Decide on Your Media: While selecting the medium to put across your intended message, you need to find out which media can your target audience afford. Even while making this decision, you have to embark on a major research. Remember all your efforts will end in vein if the selected media is not able to transmit the message to the intended audience.
  4. Make an Attempt at Trying to Find out the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Organizations that You Are Working for: It is important that you are fairly enlightened about the strengths and weaknesses of a certain organization before you start making a publicity plan for it. These could be found out decidedly through a thorough and detailed fact-finding exercise.
  5. Stay unbiased: Research is always objective and fact-oriented and hence it gives you an unflattering account of the things around. Ironically based on the same, you could construct your strategy for a flattering public relations campaign for a certain organization. Research makes sure that you are not flattered yourself while flattering someone else for promotion.
  6. Find out trends and make future decisions: It is no secret that we all learn from our mistakes and correct those mistakes when future opportunities arrive. The arena of public relations helps us decipher the trend in the world of publicity through scientific researches. These findings are then noted down so that they come handy while making publicity plans in the future.
Throughout the world, there is a marked emphasis on informed decision-making. Those days are over when assumptions and hypotheses served as alternatives to empirical truth. The field of public relations hasn’t stayed aloof to the engulfing trend as well. The contemporary age is being dubbed as the age of publicity and public relations has emerged as the biggest constituent of publicity. No wonder that public relations would also be reoriented in accordance with the scientific mode of research.

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Assistant Professor – A seasoned professional in the field of Research, Training and Counselling; Amrita has worked as a Senior Market Research Analyst at Deloitte. She has also worked for other prestigious organizations like PDPU Gandhinagar, NIIT and IMS. She did her M.A. in Journalism & Mass Communication from Tripura Central University and PGDBA in Marketing from SCDL, Pune.

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