Public Relations is probably one of the hardest jobs on the planet to give a direct job description of (Next to a priest, like what do they actually do all day?). The list goes on and on. Though the list of tasks may seem overwhelming, this is exactly what makes the position so valuable.
PR consists of various duties that all help to connect the consumer to the producer. One of the absolute essentials to being a great PR person is being a great researcher. If you’re going to connect consumer to producer, you’ve got to do a little homework on both parties. In an article form Digiday, the author explains why many PR firms don’t even open their doors until 10am (Pathak 2017). While the purpose of this article may seem simply entertaining to you, it provides some very useful insight.
In the article, the author explains why some PR employees don’t even come into work until 10am. They continue to explain how PR people often work digitally, which could allow them to stay up until 3am working on a project if they so chose. Not only that but the author did some research on what time people actually wake up in the Midwest (Pathak 2017). If clients aren’t even out of bed until 9:30 am, you probably don’t need your public relations department sitting by the phone at 8am.
Now this example might seem a little off topic but what I’m intending to convey here is the need for research within PR. Without research or prior knowledge, how could the author of this article explain WHY these workers should have a later start. Evidence such as this can help firms save a lot of money simply by allowing their staff to come in later. This is the whole goal of public relations.
PR departments can save a company a lot of money by the research they do. They can also make the company money based solely on research. In an article from Public Relations Quarterly Journal, Grunig states that, “Public relations contributes to an organization’s goals of control and cooperation by persuasion and understanding. The effects of publicrelations include communication, the retention of messages, and the formation or change of attitude or behavior” (Grunig 1983 p. 1).
To contribute to a company’s persuasion or understanding, the PR department MUST do research. How is it possible that a company such as Dortios always has super awesome and enticing advertisements? My guess is that their PR department has done some serious research on their who their consumer is, traits of their target audience, and popular culture.
P. Jackson gives another pivotal reasoning as to why research is crucial to a job description in PR, “The public relations practitioner can be considered an applied social and behavioral scientist and as such must understand his power to help influence the policies and actions of the individual agency. In hospitals, schools, corporations, government, and associations, public relations professionals must provide programs and skills that recognize society’s realities” (Jackson 1985 p.1). Yep, that’s right, PR people are scientists! Not only are Public Relations departments essential to the growing and development of companies and their advertisements, they help to grow schools, hospitals, and even the government.
The key word I took away from this quote was “reality.” PR professionals focus on the facts in society, and based on that formulate all kinds of plans to prosper a business. Without the research and analytics of a PR sector, information provided by organizations could be considered faulty and even irrelevant. By studying people’s behaviors and the culture that surrounds them, PR departments are able to cultivate programs, activities, advertisements, and brand identities that attract the desired target audience. Honestly, if you don’t have a rockin’ PR department, you’re probably not coming out on top.
Although many people (meaning this was my prior assumption and I’m now assuming everyone else thought this too) may think PR only consists of working behind a customer service desk or planning events for huge organizations, this stigma is being broken as PR professionals emerge in every aspect in a business’ brand. If I can do anything through this post, I hope to encourage you to look further into what it takes to be a professional in the PR world and how knowing your stuff is the only way to survive.
Grunig, J. E. (1983). Basic research provides knowledge that makes evaluation possible. Public Relations Quarterly, 28(3), 28. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/222489582?accountid=39473
Jackson, P. (1985). Tomorrow’s public relations. The Public Relations Journal, 41(3), 24. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/195916091?accountid=39473
Pathak, S. (2017, January 26). Rolling in at 10 a.m.: Why agencies still have late start times. Retrieved January 28, 2017, from http://digiday.com/agencies/slow-start-agencies-late-start-times/