The Role of Public Relations Research at Connections for Life

By: Amber Mason

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Public Relations practitioners spend a large amount of time organizing events and writing press releases. We pitch news stories, and execute a myriad of tactics on behalf of the clients we represent. The root and foundation of these tactics begin with public relations research.

When first introduced to a client, PR practitioners should gauge the client’s position in the community.  The organization’s mission, perception, and general capacity to operate are all important starting points. An in depth assessment should follow, which gauges the niche, structure, competition, and opposition.

The client is usually facing some issue such as raising awareness or promoting an event, and the next step, situational research, can help with finding a solution. This step includes an in-depth review of what the organization has done in the past and how the practitioner plans to remedy this issue.

Publics are an imperative aspect of the research process. The messaging, tactics and everything that follows, flow from the key public. It is essential identify key publics and  demographics to help tailor messaging accordingly.

Connections for life serves previously incarcerated women. When conducting research for the organization, it was important that we first had a grasp on how often women were incarcerated in Louisiana. This would help convey to key publics how imperative the cause was.

After conducting background research, we had to determine who would help the cause. A large amount of support comes from the Baton Rouge church community. This provided us with our key publics.

Karen Stagg, the director for Connections for Life, wanted to increase traffic in the thrift store. Our PR team had to find out several things: who lives near the thrift store and who is more likely to shop at a thrift store.

Those snippets of our research have ultimately led us in our campaign, Research is the compass in finding resolutions for the client.

Amber Mason is a public relations senior and the MorphPR research director. Follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.


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