What influences someone to choose Brand X over Brand Y? When trying to reach a specific target audience, is it best to place your messages on a highly rated cable television drama or through a targeted paid social media post? Is an advertising message that highlights the functional benefits of a product more effective than one that attempts to build an emotional connection with a consumer?

Attempting to answer these questions and more are at the heart of strategic communication research. In fact, behind most successful advertising, public relations and communication campaigns is strong research. It is through research that brands can better understand the needs, concerns and perceptions of their target audience, making it easier to strengthen their market position. Research ultimately is crucial to making sound decisions about appropriate strategies, tactics or courses of action.

Nearly every major agency and brand seeks skilled communication professionals who can carry out effective research programs. Specifically, they look for people who:

  • understand the steps of a solid research plan
  • can create and execute the latest research methods
  • know how to harness data
  • can use new and established research tools to help clients in a variety of industries
  • have creative, persuasive and critical thinking skills

Students who focus their coursework on the research interest area will examine and test the best ways to create, produce and evaluate communication strategies for a variety of clients. They will learn skills to conduct strategic communication research that leads to sound conclusions. Coursework will equip students with the ability to carry out their own research and to evaluate the research of others.

Skill sets valued in research

  • Ability to think analytically
  • Solid understanding of how to interpret data
  • Strategic thinking and planning
  • An interest in consumer psychology and behavior
  • Detail-oriented
  • Persuasive writing skills
  • Ability to present and summarize findings clearly
  • Strong inclination to solve problems

Careers in account management

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