Research Lecture #4 Why is Research Important to the Practice of Public Relations? Helps determine who the campaign should

reach. Helps determine who to communicate with. Helps determine the best channel for communicating. Helps determine what the message should include. Helps understand the background/history of those we are communicating with. Other reasons? Research Research is the starting point of a PR project, campaign, or assignment.

In order to solve a public relations problem, research must be conducted first. Most clients are less interested in what PR professionals think than what they know. This is why it is important to use data to support what you know. Research Research can be used so that PR professionals can

show their efforts. Often times, PR professionals use three Os to determine whether or not their work was effective Outputs- De we get the coverage we wanted? Fashion coverage can be useless if it is not the type that was desired Outtakes- Did our target audience see and believe our message? Were our efforts strong enough to change consumers minds, or persuade them to buy our product? Outcomes- Did our audiences behavior change? Did we see an increase in sales, more traffic in stores, more attendees at an event, greater desire for a particular style or color? Research

Research is crucial to any PR plan because it helps: Segment audiences into target markets If you are an organization selling high priced merchandise and targeting college students, your plan of targeting the correct audience will be ineffective. Analyzes audience preferences Trend forecasters often research trends and colors, it is then the merchandisers and marketing teams that research ways to make those desired by the target market. It is important to know what your target market likes and dislikes. Defining Research

Research: a systematic collection and interpretation of information to increase understanding A PR professional must acquire enough accurate and relevant data about its publics, products, services, and programs to answer several PR questions. Answering Research Questions? How can we identify and define our

constituent groups? Products? Region? Price? Income? *Demographics are key* How does this knowledge help us develop our messages? Determining who we are communicating with will help us decide what the message is How does this relate to designing programs? Not all programs work with each target market. Programs can be based on gender, race, orientation,

religion, income, age, etc. Answering Research Questions How does it relate to the media we use to convey our messages? Conveying our message via social media sites work much better for younger audiences than placing the same message in Readers Digest and other print sources. Print sources might be more beneficial when attempting to reach other age demographics. How does it relate to the implementation tactics of our program?

Tactics are used to help target markets appeal to a particular program. The tactics used must intrigue your target market. Principles of Public Relations Research? Establish objectives that lead to company goals Differentiate between measuring outputs (press coverage) and outcomes (changes in awareness, attitude, behavior) This can be very difficult to do.

Measure media content in the first step of evaluation Be cautious of comparing public relations effectiveness with advertising effectiveness the price of advertising; comparing apples to oranges Be sure to understand your target markets in order to deliver clear messages to the right individuals. Purpose of Public Relations Research

Describe a process, situation, or phenomenon. Explain why something is happening, what the causes are, and what the effect is. Predict what will most likely happen if action is or is not taken. Types of Public Relations Research

Applied Research: is either strategic or evaluative, designed to answer a specific question Strategic: used primarily in program development to determine objectives, message strategies, and create benchmarks. Evaluative: used primarily to determine if a PR plan has accomplished its goals and objectives. Types of Public Relations Research

Theoretical: more abstract and conceptual than applied. It helps build theories of why people communicate, how public opinion is formed and how a public is created. There are many theories on all of these. Serves as a framework for persuasion. Types of Public Relations Research

Secondary: research that was completed by someone elses primary research, desk research Often cheap, and since PR programs typically follow a budget, professionals use secondary research first Online database, trade journals, libraries, census data, public records, informal contacts, company Research Methods

Research is very in-depth. Students should have a knowledge of what it is, and how to apply it to fashion scenarios. Understanding research methods will help students be able to apply the best technique to their fashion situations. Research Methods

Three most commonly used methods in PR today: Surveys- designed to reveal attitudes and opinions Communications Audits- reveals flaws in communication between management and target audiences Unobtrusive Measures- fact-finding, content analysis, and readability studies that enable the study of a subject without involving the researcher. Surveys

One of the most frequently used methods of research in fashion They are used to receive feedback from consumers Descriptive- describe the current situation or condition; captures reality at a specific point Public Opinion Poll Explanatory- concerned with cause and effect, explain why a current situation or condition exists, and offer explanations for opinions and attitudes. Use the word Why to come to conclusions Why arent customers receiving good customer service? Why arent customers redeeming coupons? Why arent customers believing our messages?

Surveys include four elements: sample, questionnaire, interview, analysis of results The Sample The sample is the selected target group. Must be representative of the total public whose views are sought Sampling should be done quickly Difficult to do Ex. If you are attempting to understand customers attitudes of

your brand, through surveying techniques then ideally every customer must be offered the survey. If a survey is given to every other customer, then the sample is already flawed. A person who had either a positive or negative experience could be left out of the sample because they were the other in every other survey given. Surveys are often only completed by those who are extremely passionate about or oppose a particular topic. The Sample Random Sampling: based on equality and independence Equality- no element has any greater or lesser chance of being selected

Independence- selecting any one element in no way influences the selection of any other element. The Sample Simple Random Sampling- gives all members of the population an equal chance of being selected Systematic Random Sampling- uses a random starting point from a sample list and then includes every nth individual.

Stratified Random Sampling- used to survey different segments or strata of the population Used in organizational communication structures Cluster Sampling- breaking the population down into small heterogeneous subsets and then selecting the potential sample The Sample Convenience Samples- unstructured, unsystematic, designed to elicit ideas. People

on the street Quota Sampling- choose subjects on the basis of certain characteristics- women, men, black, white, rich, poor. Often increases homogeneity, which helps validate the study Volunteer Samples- willing participants who agree voluntarily to respond to concepts and hypotheses for research purposes The Questionnaire

What you want to find out should influence the specific publics you ask, the questions you raise, and the research method you choose Keep it short- no more than 5 minutes Use structured rather than open-ended questions, provide responses for Other Measure Intensity of Feelings Very Satisfied, Satisfied, Dissatisfied, Very Dissatisfied The Questionnaire

Do not use fancy words; remember semantics Do not ask loaded questions Did you find everything in the store you were looking for? The answer is usually NO Do not asked double-barreled questions Did you find the right sizes in our store, or were the sizes you needed gone?

Pretest Attach a letter explaining the importance of the respondents answers The Questionnaire Mail Questionnaire with commemorative stamps expensive

Follow up- if your questionnaire is being mailed Send out more questionnaires than necessary Enclose a reward usually in retail a particular % off of at item. Research Methods Interviews- Provide more personal feel for public opinion Focus groups- 90-120 minute discussion usually no more than 10 individuals with a predetermined common characteristic. Buying habits, age, income, etc. Must have moderator. Define objective and audience

Recruit your group Choose the right moderator- establish rapport quickly Conduct enough focus groups Use a discussion guide Choose proper facilities Keep a tight rein on observers Consider using outside help Research Methods Telephone Interviews- suffer a high refusal rate; caller ID helps participants ignore

unwanted and unknown callers Email Interviews- least expensive, low response rate, suffers from biases Drop-Off Interviews- combines face-to-face and mail interviews. Usually conducts a face-to-face interview and then leaves a questionnaire afterward (Not Very Common Anymore) Research Methods Intercept Interviews- researchers gathers

respondents on the street, shopping malls, or retail outlets. Delphi Panels- qualitative research tool that uses opinion leaders to help tailor the design of a general public survey. Internet Interviews- most widely used, some studies have found that they have significantly lower responses than mailed surveys. Analysis Analysis is done to produce meaningful recommendations.

The purpose of every sample is to come up with results that are valid and reliable. Communication Audits Becoming an important method of research amongst PR professionals. Help define the relationships between management objectives and the communication methods to promote those

objectives. They are typically completed to define the standing of a company with its employees and community to assess readership of communications or to examine the companys social responsibility standing. The Scope of the Audit Can be broad or narrow, depends on the organizations demands. Measures the effectiveness of communications and whether or not

they met predetermined goals. Audit Subjects Existing Communication Programsmethods and media Existing Communications Vehiclespublications, manuals, slides, teleconferencing, meetings, social media Uneven Communications Workloads

Employees Working at Cross-Purposes Audit Subjects Hidden Information That Is Not Being UsedSomeone with good ideas not being heard Bottlenecked Information Flow- Where does communication stop or slow within an organization Conflicting Notions about What the Organization is and Does- This is where the companys mission

becomes very important Many other reasons for completing an audit Audit Methodology Analysis begins by: Studying all pertinent literature about the organization Analyzing competitive literature to compare and contrast Conduct interviews with top management and move downward to detect areas of commonality and discontinuity

Recommendations are then made from the knowledge gained by completing the audit An audit should be done every couple of years Unobtrusive Methods Fact Finding no action can be taken unless the facts are known Content Analysis Frequency of Coverage- how many releases were used Placement Within the Publication- did releases appear more on

pg. 1 or pg. 21 People Reached- Circulation or web hits where the releases appeared Messages Conveyed- Did they express the organizations goals or just informational? Editing of Releases- How much of the submitted copy was edited? Attitude Conveyed- was the organization positive, negative, or neutral Evaluation

Evaluation-designed to determine what happened and why by measuring results against established objectives. Helps determine if a program should be continued, revised, or eliminated. Evaluation helps hold PR professionals accountable for their spending and time. PR professionals must evaluate what they have done to determine whether or not the expense was worth it.

Evaluation Evaluation depends on 5 things: Setting measurable program objectives Securing Management Commitment Determine the Best Way To Gather Data Reporting Back to Management Selecting the Most Appropriate Outcomes Measuring Outcomes Awareness and Comprehension Measurement- the consumer received the message directed at them, paid attention to the message, and

understood the message. Measuring Outcomes Recall and Retention Measurementdoes the message have a lasting impact on the consumer? Messages are sent to consumers everyday, and chances are your consumer has seen yours. But can the consumer remember and recall what was said in the message? Measuring Outcomes

Attitude and Preference Measurement-How the message moved a consumers attitudes, opinions, and preferences. Opinion and attitude research. Measuring Outcomes Behavior Measurement- ultimate test of effectiveness. Did the message get your consumer

to buy or do what was desired from the PR plan? Research and the Web Using the internet as a research tool can tell the PR professional many things: Unique visitors Returning visitors Total time spent on a site Downloads Links from other sites Google page rank Content popularity Sale

Research and the Web So many distractions that using the web is not always accurate research Did someone spend idle time on the website, Someone just looking at pictures and not really paying attention to the messages Did someone accidentally click your link Is your website not functioning properly Click-throughs are not always an indicator

of consumer behavior Research and the Web The value of using web research is that it is: Intimate- can bring organizations closer to their publics Precision- provide more detailed answers about consumers Timeliness- almost instantaneous Cost- considerable less expensive to produce Outside Research

There are firms that specialize in attitude and opinion surveying. Sometimes it can be cheaper to use an outside firm, and sometimes it can be more expensive. Be sure to determine if research on a particular subject has already been completed. RACE Method

Research Organizations structure History Mission Products and Services Competitors Publics Organizations goals Past Issues & Crises Current Opportunities RACE Method Action Objectives Strategy

Tactics Training Resources Implementation RACE Method Communication Campaign Theme External messages Internal messages Spokesperson Media Selection RACE Method

Evaluation Pre and post campaign surveys External public Internal public Media Impact on sales Competitors responses Recommendations for future Final Thoughts

Research answers many questions about PR plans. PR professionals must engage in research and evaluation in order to be successful. PR professionals must constantly keep track of what is being said about them by consumers. Often fashion interns are responsible for web searches for their organizations to see if they are appearing on the internet Often with retail and fashion the most used evaluation technique is focusing on sales numbers. References

Seitel, F.P. (2011). The Practice of Public Relations. Prentice Hall: Boston.

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