Research papers. They were good for something.
Research helps in PR for a number of reasons. The ones that stuck out to me, however, were the ones used to gauge audience responses. These are the most helpful for seeing if a product actually works, if the target audience is being reached, and how to better serve them in the future. I feel like this type of research is necessary for bridging the gap between the public and the company. Research doesn’t have to be boring!
It can be a small, focus group where real opinions are discussed, or a survey taken with random samples. Research is a collection of facts and, by caring enough to gather the research, you are telling people that you really want to make it about them.
Here’s a sidenote: sometimes, I get really annoyed with PR terms. I understand that you have to call us something, but using words like “the public”, “audience”, and “masses” or “consumers” makes it feel like I’m always being sold something, manipulated to believe something, or a just looked at as a number on a scale. We are people. Is it so hard to bring this term back to life? What do we really want? What do we really like? That’s what this research is about. Uncovering the reasons why we like or dislike something and trying to change it. PR might wrongfully have a bad rep, because it is two-way. They are working with us to create a better product, rather than trying to force us to accept what we don’t want. Yup. Research is good for both of us.