Why research trumps instinct in PR

Paul Stallard - Monday April 6th 2020

If you have worked in marketing and PR for some time, you will no doubt have developed a great deal of valuable experience, and learned to rely on your instincts to guide you in making decisions. You can read a press release and just know that it isn’t quite right, or pick the best headline from a range of alternatives, based on your gut reaction. However, there are many situations where it can be misleading to rely on our instincts.

When you work with a brand, within an industry, or with an issue, you have insider knowledge, and you are immersed in the detail of your campaign. This can make it hard to imagine how the general public will react, or what they will think, as you can’t un-know what you know. This is why it is useful to conduct market research to help you to put aside your assumptions and get some unbiased, representative data that will help you make decisions, build a story or evaluate the success of your PR approach.

Additionally, in recent years, the growth in the study and use of behavioural economics has led us to understand a great deal about the systematic biases that can cause our instincts to lead us astray. For example, confirmation bias can mean that we gravitate towards opinions and decisions that reflect our existing world view, and status quo bias means that we prefer to do things the same way we have always done them. Conducting research can help to shake up your world view, and to see things through the eyes of your public of interest, leading to better and more effective PR campaigns.

It is useful to conduct market research to help you to put aside your assumptions and get some unbiased, representative data that will help you make decisions

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