If you want to accurately judge if your messages will be well received or fall flat, then research is essential.
Research is the foundation of a successful communication plan. In October,
Dr. Bruce Pinkleton from the WSU Edward R. Murrow College of Communication joined PRSA Spokane. He shared an overview of using research to build stronger PR programs to achieve a variety of goals such as understanding targeted audience members, reaching them effectively to reach communication goals, and/or demonstrating PR program value.
Weren’t able to make it to our last “Conversations with” event with Dr. Pinkleton? Lucky for you, we’ve got the highlights:
- All research methods have limitations and flaws. Own this up front, because despite this you can learn a lot of very useful and important information through research.
- Divorce the notion of “best-case” research scenarios. The reality is your research is all applied, which is why it’s necessary to use results carefully. Most methods do not give you results that you can use to extrapolate assumptions to the greater population. Quite a bit has to do with your sampling (probability vs. improbability).
- Time and money are your biggest considerations.
- When it comes to accuracy, do you need to know it's 70 degrees or do you just need to know it's sunny? Your degree of accuracy greatly impacts sample size, time and cost considerations.
- Every project is different. There’s flexibility in how you design and use research to inform your thinking, but there is no perfect solution to any single challenge.
- For ROI, numbers tend to build credibility but a good story often has strong emotional impact.
- Focus on outcomes, not outputs!
- Impartiality and objectivity are essential to research success.
- Don’t dismiss surprising or unpleasant information.
- Educating others often is an important part of the research process.
We thank Dr. Pinkleton once again for taking the time to interact with our members and fellow professional communicators in Spokane. Please stay tuned for another exclusive opportunity coming in 2018 to interact and gain insight from Dr. Pinkleton, as he has plans to return to Spokane by popular demand!