Public Relations Research: Examining the Non-traditional Path to a Seat at the Table
By Mark Weiner, CEO, PRIME Research – North America
The traditional profile for a career in public relations will never disappear: Being a great writer, a superior one-on-one communicator and a creative whirlwind will always hold promise in the established world of PR.
The purpose of this note is to offer an alternative profile for PR success – the quantitative thinker, the statistically-minded, the scientist – qualities with career potential which are just as great but with a talent pool that is far smaller. If you fit the profile, you may be one of the “one-percenters” with a future in public relations research and evaluation: let’s call them “PR Scientists.”
As public relations continues to evolve, the need to scientifically plan, execute and evaluate PR programs increases similarly. As business decision-makers choose to invest in public relations, they are looking for ways to minimize risk and deliver outsized returns on their investment. Enter the PR Scientist whose research skills help to discover and map the communications landscape; to set program objectives which are reasonable, meaningful and measurable; to develop pre-tested strategies and drive tactics to ensure compelling and credible campaigns; and to assess program performance throughout the process so that PR performance delivers continual improvement.
One look at the PRSA or IABC credos and you’ll see the high esteem with which PR research is viewed. In fact, good research is considered a core competency and professional foundation upon which good public relations is constructed.
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