Beau Dannemiller
Beau Dannemiller

PR is a world where sub-par ideas and concepts will not trump the “paid” media element. Inundated with creative ideas and sexy content, it can be difficult to compete with all the brands for positioning with earned editorial content. As many brands struggle to write compelling press releases that contain relevant — and more importantly, interesting — content, there’s a shift in the methodology for content creation. More and more brands and agencies are allocating their money to research to set the stage for creative brainstorms, securing new business, and retaining long-standing client relationships.

“You can’t see the trees when you’re stuck in the forest”

How many times have you been so invested in a project or brand that you can no longer see how that brand appears from the consumer’s perspective? You might be surprised that many professionals admitted to experiencing this exact problem. Because self-admission is the first step in personal problem solving, you might imagine that some of these professionals have found a great solution: market research. One of the applications of quantitative market research is uncovering consumer insights like the aforementioned (nine out of 10 PR professionals). Consumer insights are a terrific way of setting the stage for the reasoning behind why you’re proposing a new project to a client. Online surveys provide media hooks and info to better position marketing and advertising efforts and can be geared to survey specific personas for increased visibility into different consumer segments.

Be proactive with strategy instead of reactive with guesswork

For years, I’ve worked on projects that were forced into existence by sheer will and determination. Some of these projects even performed well considering the lack of editorial content required to pitch quality earned placements. The best projects by far, however, were those that utilized a planned approach, using strategic market research to uncover news generating editorial hooks and insights. One hotel group client needed research to better understand behavior of travelers. So, we opted to survey people and found out their biggest Monday morning regrets. As you can imagine, some of the results were thrown out, but we also uncovered some unique findings that helped craft our media alert.

Anytime you can understand how an audience segment feels before engaging with them, you can almost guarantee amazing results. Anytime you can understand how that audience segment feels and uncover a really interesting fact, you will accumulate quality bookings and generate a ton of interest. The goal of creative research is to understand the audience and the interesting facts that reveal themselves.

Voila! You have the story.


Beau Dannemiller is a VP and sales director of PR services at DEFINITION 6.