Late last year I was asked by TV Access to offer input on the relationship between research and PR for an article they were having published. TV Access specializes in public service announcement campaigns for non-profits, corporations, and government agencies. The focus of the article was to cite research as a growth area for PR in 2013. The following is the response that I sent them, part of which they used in the article that was published in the December 2012 issue of PR Week.
Good research leads to good outcomes for PR campaigns. Understanding how and why a message resonates with its intended audience is a critical factor for a PR campaign. A campaign may be clever and creative, but if it doesn’t communicate the right message to the right audience, it won’t be successful.
Research was the key to the success of one of the biggest PR campaigns ever. A recent TIME article by Michael Schrader credits Obama’s re-election to the campaign’s research staff and metric driven campaign. Research efforts to understand supporters led to the successful “dine with a celebrity” contests as well as many other effective ads targeted at key audiences. In an interview with TIME, senior campaign advisers agreed to describe their cutting-edge efforts.
“What they revealed as they pulled back the curtain was a massive data effort that helped Obama raise $1 billion, remade the process of targeting TV ads and created detailed models of swing-state voters that could be used to increase the effectiveness of everything from phone calls and door knocks to direct mailings and social media.”
Just as the Obama team used research to effectively communicate their message, it can be used to bring about the desired result of any PR campaign.
 “How Obama’s Data Crunchers Helped Him Win”, TIME November 8, 2012