Formulating strategic public relations plans for your small business involves conducting some research, whether it is through customer surveys or other methods of data gathering. Public relations workers may give their opinions and recommendations on conducting research, but top management needs to understand the importance of the research and make informed decisions on how to proceed.
Provides Unbiased Information
Research, when conducted properly, eliminates bias and gives the leaders of a company a realistic picture of how various members of the public perceive the organization. If the leaders and public relations workers in a company were to rely solely on their own biased opinions of how the public views the organization, they would risk not really knowing if the organization’s public image needs to be improved. The leaders and public relations workers also risk making decisions that would not positively affect the public’s perception of the organization.
Organizational Strengths and Weaknesses
Research for a public relations plan should involve a non-biased assessment of the organization itself. This research analyzes not only the overall mission of the organization but also how far the organization has gone toward achieving its mission. The research also gives a list and assessment of all resources available to the organization that it may use in the implementation of a public relations plan. Leadership in the organization also receives information about any liabilities or possible internal threats that could jeopardize the public relations plan, allowing the leadership to devise a plan for how to proactively manage these risks.
Public Relations Messaging
The research conducted by the organization provides valuable information about how the organization should craft its public relations messaging. The research provides feedback about what matters most to the public, which the organization addresses or incorporates in public relations messaging. Thorough research on groups the organization interacts with also supplies a list of media forms the different groups engage in, letting the organization know the most effective methods of delivering its message.
After a public relations plan has been formulated and then put into practice, additional research provides feedback on the actual public relations plan. This research allows the organization to determine if any of the objectives formulated for the public relations plan has been achieved and to what degree. Knowing how effective the public relations plan is at achieving the objectives helps the organization decide whether to continue with the plan, make adjustments to the plan or to scrap the plan and begin formulating a new one.