Research is one of the most important steps before communicating with the rest of the world, especially when it comes to maintaining Public Relations. With Public Relations, not knowing the proper information about the praise or complaints for or against the group you represent can lead to a terrible public image resulting in mistrust from the public. But when studying what to do two important factors must be looked into for the best outcome.
Knowledge of the audience
Knowing who the intended audience is for you is an important step to get the best response. If the audience is a certain group of people then you need to know who they are and what they support. If the people that you need to communicate about in PR are those supportive/were supportive of your group that you’re speaking on behalf of, then you need to see what got them to talk about your group. If it’s for a negative reason then a PR statement needs to be made on behalf of your group to try and make amends with them for whatever reason. However, If the group is neutral or was seemingly always against your group for whatever reason, it might be best to try to get them over your side. Researching what your group did wrong from the perspective of any group is a necessary step in remedying the situation in a negative light, listen or read any problem they may have. See how your group could change, note this could result in isolation from supporters because it’s something they might not like, so be cautious with the decision making.
Know the subject
Knowing the subject you’re addressing is a simple thing but it’s also something that some in Public relations miss on that results in later mocking and scrutiny from detractors. Researching what your group did whether right or wrong in the eyes of a group is a necessary step to continue success.
The subject can almost be anything, but some examples can be related to a product, allegations on company practice, inner company culture, an unofficial or official statement from an employee or any action an employee might have committed is necessary to see what went right or wrong. It might also be good to study law on an issue if whatever is used against your group is from a legal standpoint. It’s also good to keep in contact with those dealing with the situation, such as the higher ups as they will be looking towards you to communicate what they say. If possible and with permission, it’s also good to relay updates about the subject more and more to the audience to keep them informed on the ongoing situation. While relaying information, try to gauge public reaction to the information. Make sure to remain accurate with the information as that can come back to haunt you later, which can result in more Public Relations problems in the future.
Once these two factors have been researched, you can respond in any way you can. If people like what you’re doing then it’s best to continue with that path the best you can or change if necessary.