May 21, 2019

The Importance of Research in a Public Relations Campaign

By Jaclyn Walian

Contrary to what some may think, research plays an integral role in any public relations and social media campaign. It should be the foundation to the plan and incorporated into every step after. Research is what lets us know and understand target audiences, what resonates with those target audiences and the impact of the campaign. Research allows us to better guide the campaign so you can actually see results and a return on your investment. It is something that should not be overlooked.

We’re not saying that you have to go out and spend thousands of dollars on research. While that is always helpful, there are other ways to gather important information without breaking the bank:

  • Customer/client survey – use the contact information you already have to conduct a survey
  • Informal focus group – gather some friends or reach out to your network to conduct a focus group
  • Hit the streets – go to a high traffic area and talk to people
  • Social media and website analytics – you can gather a lot of information from these sources

At Olive, we like to look at numbers and facts to help guide our campaigns. A great example of this is when we worked with VIM & VIGR, a fashionable compression sock company. Being that they were new to the market, we didn’t have much research so we kicked off with what we thought would be the best route – going after the fitness and fashion markets as well as the general public. While these audiences loved the product, we soon realized that the audiences with the most conversions were those professions that were on their feet all day – nurses, teachers, etc. – and those that needed compression socks for medical reasons – DVT and pregnancy. Once we had numbers to look at, we quickly pivoted our plans and changed our strategy to target the audiences most likely to purchase the products.

We also focus on the result of the result, which comes from research. While it’s great if we secure a media hit on a site that has 1 million unique monthly visitors, that does not mean that 1 million people will see the article or convert and purchase a product. We work with our clients to determine what the actual impact was – did it result in sales, increased traffic, etc.? If yes, then we are on the right track. If no, we hit the drawing board to figure out a new strategy with the new information we now have.

Interested in making sure research plays into your campaign? Contact us at