Let’s look at the first phase of strategic planning for public relations, research. You’ve heard the phrase “shooting in the dark.” It means trying

to hit a target you don’t see. That’s what public relations without research would be. Research provides the foundation for strategic communication planning. Without research, you’d be sending messages of little value to your organization and little interest to your publics (who probably won’t be listening anyway). Research keeps you rooted in reality and prevents creativity from becoming merely bizarre. The most common type of public relations research is formative

research, the kind of fact gathering that precedes and shapes a campaign or project. It’s part of every good public relations activity.