research, research, research!

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I am required to write  a few blog posts as part of a Public Relations course I am currently in. Each week I will be commenting on something PR-related. Feel free to read and comment on my posts as usual!

This week I will be talking about how important it is not to immediately jump to tactical ideas for a campaign when taking on a new PR project and how important research is as your first step.

A PR campaign needs to be well researched in order for it to be successful. So many of us “right-brained people” automatically want to blurt out a million tactical ideas for a project. It’s in our nature. We’re innately creative and sometimes we just can’t hold back all of our brilliant ideas. This isn’t a bad thing! But jumping too far ahead with these ideas can cause problems in the long run.

If a campaign isn’t researched, then some unfortunate things could possibly happen. Maybe you’ve chosen the wrong target audience. Maybe your message isn’t clear to who you thought your target audience is. Maybe your message will be completely misunderstood. Maybe the campaign won’t even make sense to anyone! Sometimes an idea seems like a great idea at the time, but when released to the real world, you might find out  it’s the exact opposite!

We’ve all grown up with biases and different influences around us. We form opinions based on experiences and the people who surround us, affect us, and inspire us. This proves that everyone has a different perspective on EVERYTHING. Our brains interpret words, visuals, sounds and messages differently than the next person beside us. Depending on our  age, sex, income, location, religion, political beliefs, etc, we will “get” certain things, and sometimes we will not get certain things.

Once you have done your research, understand your target audience, have a clear understanding of current events and related attitudes around what you are trying to campaign for, you will be able to make educated decisions on what your strategies, objectives, and tactics will be for your campaign. This will ensure that all aspects of your campaign connect and come back to the true message of what you are trying to accomplish and who you are trying to reach. This will help you to (hopefully) avoid a campaign flop. You don’t want your campaign to end up like these unfortunate failures.

This is a very short explanation of why research is so important. I could talk for days about why it is so important, but here is the bottom line of what I have been trying to say:

Get inside the heads of your target audience. Try to see things from their perspective. Assume how they will react to certain things. Find out what will pull at their heart strings or encourage them to action, whatever is is you are trying to accomplish. View current attitudes, reactions, and opinions on related subject matter to your campaign. Look everywhere you can to gain a clear understanding of how your campaign may be interpreted.  

Although it’s not fool proof (because we all know that shit happens sometimes), this is what research is all about and it should always, always, always be your first step in developing a PR campaign.