By Caroline Beslin, Research Director
Research efforts in public relations can be used to measure different aspects of a company or brand. One of the most important measurements to take is the level of trust between you and your audience. “It doesn’t matter if it is your truth or theirs, you have to deal with the public perception” – Leslie Rasmussen. In order to be successful, a brand must be constantly aware of their audience’s opinions. People base most of their purchasing decisions on what they hear from others. A brand’s ultimate measure of achievement is gaining their customers trust.
As public relations professionals, it is our job to maintain a positive image of the company, individual, or entity that we represent. We have to look at the whole picture to see how a brand is perceived. Trust leads to financial success. If a brand wants to make changes that will affect their audience; it would be wise to conduct research to see how customers would possible react. Paine Publishing discusses a trust measurement checklist that will help you determine the necessary steps to take with your research.
Netflix underwent changes in their pricing options in 2011. They did not give their customers fair warning before they changed the prices of their online streaming service and DVD home delivery service. The move was poorly received, and if Netflix had done their research they could have avoided not only the trust issues that ensued, but financial problems as well.
As mentioned earlier, it is important to know your audience. Netflix’s appeal was their low price, immediacy, and wide range of movie options. When they altered the expected $10 a month service, Netflix lost the trust of their customers. Not only was this a poor use of communication, but they also did not adequately relay the meaning for this decision and the value it would bring to the service. Netflix tried to make the focus on their loss and their rising expenses. The customer should always be considered.
Public relations research is a valuable tool for all PR professionals to use. Research helps to gain a clear view of your image and to understand what is and isn’t working for your company. Netflix should have done more extensive research to gain an understanding of how their customers react to upcoming changes. Modifications will always be made in business, but it is important to tread those waters lightly. So much relies on the success of a company, and ignoring the proven effects of research will only lead to turmoil.
The mission of Big Buddy Program is to provide access to positive role models and learning experiences to children who lack these valuable resources in the Greater Baton Rouge community.
Caroline Beslin is a senior studying mass communication at Louisiana State University. She hopes to pursue a career in public relations in the New Orleans area after graduation. Caroline is an avid runner and enjoys competing in races across the south. She would love to one day combine her love of meeting new people, hearing their stories, and learning from others to create meaningful work in the PR world- while still having the time to bake the perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies.