Sunday, 21 October 2012

Research Techniques used in PR Campaign and Its Role

 Have you done your research?

Public relations research provides the groundwork for almost everything PR practitioners do including identifying key publics, addressing issues, devleoping strategy, and measuring results.

A great PR campaign starts with R.A.C.E. which stands for Research, Action, Communicate, and Evaluate. Research is the critical first step and the nucleus to a successful PR Campaign and every PR activity. It is the beginning of a process that seeks to bring about a specific objective.

There are really only two types of research methods that are categorized into two groups, secondary or primary. Secondary research is often referred to as desk research that involves using existing information from already published sources in books, electronic data bases, papers, journals, libraries etc. Primary research is new and original information gathered first hand through questionnaires, interviews, telephone interviews, focus groups, blogs, and polls.  

In addition to categorizing we can distinguish between qualitative and quantitative research. Qualitative research is often referred to as soft data and quantitative research is known as hard data.

Qualitative Data
Quantitative Data
  • “Soft” data
  • Open-ended questions
  • Deals with descriptions.
  • Unstructured
  • Data can be observed but not measured.
  • Colors, textures, smells, tastes, appearance, beauty, etc.
  • Rarely representative of larger audience
  • Qualitative → Quality
Examples: focus groups, in depth interviews, observations, participation, role playing, convenience pole
  • “Hard” data
  • Close-ended questions
  • Deals with numbers.
  • Highly structured
  • Data which can be measured.
  • Length, height, area, volume, weight, speed, time, temperature, humidity, sound levels, cost, members, ages, etc.
  • Usually representative of larger audience
  • Quantitative → Quantity
Examples: telephone polls, mail surveys, face-to-face interviews, panel studies, questionnaires

Using these research techniques will determine your target market which will be your publics and stakeholders who are pertinent to your campaign. You will also find out their attitudes and beliefs and this will allow you to tailor your message appropriately and communicate in a way your audience can understand and appreciate. As a PR professional we must become fully aware of everything both externally or internally and this in turn will help formulate a strategic public relations plan.

In conclusion, engaging in key research techniques will essentially enable the PR professional to accomplish the following:

  • Achieve credibility with management 
  • Define Audiences and segmenting publics 
  • Formulate strategy 
  • Test messages
  • Prevent crisis
  • Monitor competition
  • Measure success
It is so important to understand what research can do for organizations and how practitioners can use it to reach their goals. It is the first step in creating a very successful PR Campaign and the ability to conduct research can benefit the campaign and the PR practitioner’s career so it's crucial to stay in the R.A.C.E!  


  3. Public Relations Research in the Real World of Business, By Laurel English, ABC, Principal, English Communications – Internet - pdf file
  4. Wilcox, Cameron, Reber, Shin (2013) - Think Public Relations
  5. relations research

Monday, 15 October 2012

Life in PR and Social Media

Tamara Bodi
Director, PR and Social Media
Mckim Cringan George

The following post is the result of an interview I conducted on October 12, 2012 with, Tamara Bodi, a public relations professional and we were seated in her office located on the 6th floor of the Crocus building, 211 Bannatyne Avenue, Winnipeg Manitoba. I found Tamara, for this interview assignment, through an internet search on Public Relations Winnipeg and subsequently contacted her setting up a face to face interview.

Tamara has a B.A from the University of Winnipeg and a Journalism Diploma from Red River College. She presently works for a fully-integrated ad agency, Mckim Cringan George, and their expertise includes advertising, branding, digital marketing, media placement, social media (SM) and public relations (PR).

Tamara who is in the communications department combines public relations and social media tactics to help get the word out on good news, and manage messages when it’s not. She ensures the right audience gets the right message.

I’ve posted a synopsis of some of her answers to the following questions. It should be noted that the answers provided are not Tamara’s words verbatim except where indicated by quotations and in bold. The questions and answers are identified by our names indicated in bold.


What’s a typical week like? (If no week is typical, then what was the last week like?)


Tamara indicated that it’s not typical and that this is the beauty and frustration of the job and it’s hard to plan a week. She stated that she may have a project ahead of her and an urgent matter, a good news story comes along or someone needs something edited and the project has to wait. Tamara likes the variety and that’s what is nice about it but it feels , at times, she doesn’t have a lot of control.

She indicated PR is one of the most stressful positions to be in but she enjoys it. Tamara is a “good news guy” and they have a range of clients such as retail, crown corporations, post secondary education, charities and also work with various cities throughout the provinces.

She stated “I really like the range of both public relations and social media and using social media to help clients communicate with their audiences.”  


Tell me about a project you worked that you are especially proud of.


Tamara spoke recently about a project that was more social media than PR. She started working with a brand new online store company called MyFunkins and it was selling reusable cloth napkins for kids. She did advertising for them and re-developed their web site. She also helped develop the CEO’s social media channels to figure out a way to communicate more efficiently because it was an online company.

Tamara indicated “Social media was a perfect fit for this company and this speaks to my philosophy. I don’t believe in traditional PR anymore unless it’s done with genius which I think is difficult to come by. What I also mean by that is a couple of things, generating buzz through social media channels can bring about both audience engagement which in turn can bring about earned media. Earned media is basically getting public relations news media coverage through social media. I try to generate a lot of buzz through social media channels. If it’s done well then media will take notice. Another way is by being really innovative and creative which is super challenging.”


Is that because things have been done over and over again and it’s hard to find something original or radical that influences the public?


“Yes, the bar has been raised and we have to be better and getting to that level is tough! You need gorilla marketing tactics or environmental marketing like a stunt in a public place that can be captured on cameras and, for example,  put on you tube where it gets tons of hits. I work at an agency that is very creative. We always need to get the public to take notice and capture their attention so they can twitter, you tube, face book and use social media – it’s exciting and challenging!”

“The more brains in the room the better your ideal becomes.”


What do you do to keep current in the PR industry 


Tamara indicated that everyday she dedicates her time to what is going on in terms of the job itself. Everyday she reads Enews, PR Daily, Ragan Daily and wants to see what’s getting attention. Tamara watches on twitter what’s getting buzz and sits on the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) Manitoba Chapter. She attends Professional Development events through CPRS and they have one every month. The next one she indicated was crisis communication. She enjoys listening to others talk about their successes and failures and usually likes to sit at the speakers table during the luncheon because she feels this is where she gets updated through conversations with the speakers. She listens to their thoughts, ideals and opinions.


What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR?


“I have to think about that one.”


Ok, well let’s move onto the next one while you think about it. How important is writing in your career?


“Wait; lets go back, I have my answer. I wish I would have known that PR is about writing and lots of different voices. You write a lot of other people’s quotes and you have to find their voice in their voice. That’s a very standard practice and that’s a challenge!”


How important is writing in your career?


She indicated that writing is extremely important. That she does a lot of writing and editing and believes she does more editing then writing.


If you’ve every worked for an agency, how is agency life different from corporate PR life?


Tamara indicated that agency is a little more organic as far as work hours. She states “I’m not really sure how to answer that – there are not a lot of agencies in Winnipeg.”

She indicated that she is more flexible here. She spoke about how she contacted the media and had their spokes person, Peter George, talk about the market in terms of the National Hockey League (NHL) coming back to Winnipeg. He was considered an expert in this area. She went on to say that you need to get your spokes person out there at least three times. Tamara indicated it gets into their consciousness and as a result she received calls from people requesting to speak with Peter and it promoted their agency.  


What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?


Tamara’s advice was to send out media advisories. Check with spokes people in your agency or company to see if they are available and willing to talk to the media. In terms of media relations, once again, she really likes to treat the reporters as if they are customers and give good customer service. When they call Tamara she is on it quickly. She treats it like sales, moving and shaking, and making stuff happen. She enjoys getting Peter George, their spokes person, to talk to the media. She’s coaches and gets them ready. She stressed that customer’s service is very important.

And lastly, Tamara indicated “Treat social media like it matters because it does. I’m 145% certain that social media and PR go hand in hand now. You cannot call yourself a public relations practitioner if you’re not using social media. It’s become a customer service tool very quickly. We help clients here talk to their customers through SM. The fundamental of PR is story tellers. You have to translate it to make it interesting to the media.”


When your company is hiring for an entry-PR position, what makes a candidate stand out?


“I look for someone who knows about the company. They can tell me what they see on the website or things we’ve done, someone who is a good writer, and more than familiar with SM because it’s hard.”


“Thanks so much for your time Tamara - that was great!”


“Anytime, I enjoyed it.”


During the interview Tamara had a vibrant and pleasant energy with a very professional edge to her. It was evident she loved her work and she was enthusiastic about the interview stating in a pleasant tone “These are great questions!” As I sat there pen to paper, observing her pondering the questions, I eagerly anticipated her responses because I knew I was sitting with someone who was very knowledgeable in the field of PR.

After the interview was completed I noted throughout there was an excited exchange between us and it continued to escalate where later we both agreed on a statement made by Tamara “So nice to chat with you yesterday. It was like we were old friends, just gabbing away!”

Tamara made PR alive and challenging and embodied the many attributes of a public relations practitioner one would be more than compelled to admire. She expanded my view of PR through the importance of writing, social media, customer service and communication. She made me realize that there is so much opportunity in this profession to be creative that it draws me into wanting to explore and research more. The desire in me to know PR and social media continues to grow within me as I delve more into finding out what it’s all about.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Comment #2

Article link: here


I’m new to the PR and have really delved into reading what I can about this new world. I describe the experience, so far, like travelling to a foreign country and researching all that I can so it becomes familiar to me.

In my research it astounds in a good way and, on the other side of the coin, disturbs me how social media is so vastly used as the mode of transportation to get from one place to another and it’s all business. I see how it’s valuable in keeping you on the pulse of what’s going on around you and being able to pounce like a cat after a mouse when there is a crisis or you need to repair any damage to your business. I realize that it’s used as an accountability tool for consumers or marketing.

Having said that, I really like this article because it reminds me that we are all still human and I believe social media tools can de-humanize us. It takes away the deeper connections and all those amazing attributes that make us who we are. I see the importance of social media but I also see the value of never forgetting about the deeper connections of human to human (H2H) or Face to Face (F2F) contact.

 I believe it’s important to use and rely on social media but I still believe in the value of hearing the voice at the end of a phone or in person. I’m speaking purely from a consumers perspective and really good customer service.