Why is research important?

imagesI haven’t written my blog for a while because I have been busy with school, with assignments, and with other things. I could continue with many more excuses.

The main idea when I created this blog was to share my experiences as a mature student. One area of my experiences that I have not shared is the assignments I have been working on.

Last week, I began a new course – PR Fundamentals II. Writing a blog to share opinions about different PR topics is one of the assignments.   So, I no longer have any excuse for not writing.

This week’s topic is about why it is important to not jump ahead to tactical ideas for a PR campaign when taking on a new project.

First of all, if you jump directly to the tactics, you will waste time, effort, and money. Tactics – “the nuts and bolts of the plan that describes the specific activities that put strategy into operation and help to achieve the stated objectives” – need a foundation. Research and analysis are the way to find that basis.

To me, then, it makes sense to compare the process of developing a PR campaign with building a new house. A good solid house needs to start with a strong foundation. A good solid PR campaign needs to start with a strong foundation. Why are research and analysis so important? Research and analysis are forms of listening. If you do not listen to what your audience is saying about its needs, your product, or your organization, you will fail to understand what your audience wants and be unable to craft the key messages that your audience wants to hear. Research and analysis help you define the purpose of your campaign and therefore, it is hoped, launch a successful campaign. . In summary, good research and analysis allow you to build your strategy, set your goals, and reach your audience.

Doing the research for this post, I discovered an example of what can happen when a company fails to research and analyze what its target audience wants.

In 2007, Honda introduced a more powerful hybrid in the Accord line without adequately researching and analyzing who would be interested in such a car. The company discovered that people who drive Accords and hybrids are not really interested in extra horsepower. Consumers were not interested in spending $9,000 more on a hybrid Accord model. That same year, Honda announced that they would not release the Accord in a hybrid model.

At that time, people from Honda missed out on the hybrid growing market for hybrids because they did not take the time to research and analyze what the market wanted and needed. You can read more about this issue at Failure of Accord Hybrid is a Marketing Fiasco, posted by David Kiley on June 5, 2007.

This was a very expensive lesson for Honda. This fail could be prevented if the company had not jumped ahead to the tactical ideas for its campaign before building the foundation.

“ Identifying and understanding the perspective of stakeholders helps you in framing responsive messages and matching future actions to stakeholders needs.”  — Jeff Ansell