ComPRehension

Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
April 8, 2014

All That We Share: PRSA PRIME Research Strategic Corporate Communications and Research Conference


PRSA Prime Research ConferenceWhat do GE, MasterCard, Walmart, Oracle, CEMEX, The Coca-Cola Company, Pepco and Nissan have in common?

Since each speaker offers a unique perspective on how their organizations use public relations research, it’s easy to assume that with the resources available to such large enterprises, their research is more sophisticated, more expensive and more complicated than anything “ordinary” PR people could attempt.  It may surprise you to learn that with everything these companies have in common, they also share one more similarity:  in each case, their PR measurement journey began simply, inexpensively and on a relatively small scale.

One of the great myths inhibiting wider adoption for research in public relations is the mistaken belief that research is too expensive or too complicated; that real pros know what works and what doesn’t; that they don’t need research to tell them what they already know.  While instinct and experience count, each conference presenter can say that in the high-stakes business environment in which we all operate now, the benefits of a good reputation matter more now than ever.  Conversely, the penalties for a poor reputation have never been greater. Good research guides decisions that lead to a better reputation and it provides the objective validation that every PR professional needs to communicate PR’s value to the business.

Never before has such a high concentration of top executives and thought leaders from the world’s greatest organizations been assembled in such an intimate conference setting:

  • Gary Sheffer, chief communications officer, GE, will present on the revolutionary power of research.  GE ranks fourth in the Fortune 500
  • David Tovar, vice president of corporate communications at Walmart, will demonstrate how to develop a measurement program that provides real business value and resonates with PR pros and senior executives alike. Walmart ranks first in the Fortune 500.
  • Andrew Bowins, senior vice president, MasterCard, will report on how applied social media analytics transformed his company’s culture and positioning in 43 countries. MasterCard ranks 376 in the Fortune 500.
  • Letty Ledbetter, vice president of global product and services public relations, Oracle, will discuss how research can address the challenges of launching products. Oracle ranks 105 in the Fortune 500.
  • Jeff Kuhlman, vice president, global communications, Nissan Motor Corporation, will describe how research and measurement help create buying incentives that impact the customer purchase decision.  Nissan ranks 47 in the Fortune Global 500.
  • Mallory Perkins, social media analyst, The Coca-Cola Company, will discuss how social media plays a pivotal role in corporate storytelling. Coca-Cola Company ranks 72 in the Fortune 500.
  • Don Stacks, PhD, trustee, director of the public relations program in the School of Communication at the University of Miami, will discuss new standards for ethical research.  Dr. Stacks is the author of “Primer of Public Relations Research,” ranked among the top 100 on Amazon in two categories (PR and market research)
  • Jorge Perez, corporate communications at CEMEX will reveal the process by which he led a new evaluation initiative in one of Mexico’s largest companies.  CEMEX is Mexico’s seventh largest company; ranking 778 in the Fortune Global 1000.
  • Allyson Hugely, executive vice president of research and analytics at Weber Shandwick, who will reveal the role of research in managing agency/client relationships.  Weber is one of the world’s largest public relations agencies.
  • Laura Monica, Myra Humphries Oppel and MaryBeth Vrees, corporate communications at Pepco Holdings who will describe how they applied sound research techniques to “turn around the most hated company in America.”  Pepco ranks 251 in the Fortune 500.

Despite the size of their organizations or yours, each speaker’s story informs all of us, imparting the wisdom we need to apply as we begin or continue on our path for reputation excellence.  If the thought of introducing or elevating your communications research program seems daunting, consider these simple words for beginning your PR measurement journey:

Be Concise.
Collaborate with management and peers.
Learn from the best.
Begin simply.
Simply begin.

To learn more about how you can demonstrate and generate a better return on your PR investment, attend the PRSA PRIME Research Strategic Corporate Communications and Research Conference. Places are limited to 60.  Register here today.

Mark Weiner is chief executive officer of PRIME Research. 

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