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CMJ 367: Public Relations: Industry Research
Welcome to the CMJ 367 Research Guide! This web page includes resources to assist with your industry research. Not seeing what you need, or have questions? Contact your CMJ librarian, Jen Bonnet, at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Finding Company History
Below are a couple of resources that can help you explore companies within an industry of interest to you for your Career Discovery assignment. Looking at company histories can give you a sense of an industry's priorities, which can help you determine what their PR needs may be.
Includes company information, like demographic profiles, revenue & employment trends, and competitors. These are short and sweet (not much depth), but can give you quick insights into their primary interests and goals.
Includes company profile, history, and principal competitors, and oftentimes a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats).
One approach is to search for your company and add "SWOT analysis" to your search (e.g., Microsoft AND "SWOT analysis"). You can then limit to a recent year of interest.
Another is to search for your company in the Advanced Search page (e.g., Microsoft Corp.), and limit your results to Company Profile in the "Document Type" section. You can further limit your results to a recent year of interest.
Finding Demographic & Psychographic Information
Demographics and psychographics provide insights into why consumers spend their money, and on what types of purchases. More specifically, demographics refer to who your consumers are, such as their age, race/ethnicity, gender, relationship status, occupation, or income. Psychographics refer to why your consumers consume, such as attitudes, preferences, opinions, or values.
Looking at this type of information can help you determine the PR needs of your industry. For instance, does your industry need to focus on a particular demographic group? Is there room for growing their audience? Are they missing opportunities to reach people in certain parts of the country, or the world? Are there consumer opinions/perspectives/values that resonate with your industry and that your PR work can capitalize on?
Mintel publishes over 220 marketing reports in the US every year. Reports include data such as answers to consumer survey questions to identify key demographics or target markets; a comprehensive overview of the market size, including a five year forecast; and brand share, category trends, consumer attitudes and behaviors, and analysis on what’s working, what’s not working, and what’s coming next.
To access Mintel, click on the link above, then click on Mintel Academic under the section titled, Your Subscriptions.
Results from the latest General Social Survey, revealing what the public thinks about topics ranging from gay marriage to the American Dream, how Americans feel about their financial status, their hopes for their children, how often they socialize and with whom, their religious beliefs, political leanings, family life, and standard of living. Includes the history of responses to questions, where available, enabling one to track public attitude changes over time.
Unique weekly and quarterly spending data that show the percentage of households that buy individual products and services and how much buyers pay for them. American Buyers can tell you the percentage of households that buy fast-food lunches during an average week and how much the buyers spend on them. Includes statistics like the percentage of households that buy airline tickets during an average quarter and how much the buyers spend on them. Spending data are detailed by the demographics that count—age, income, household type, race and Hispanic origin, region of residence, and education.
This report analyzes the demographics of household spending in the United States on hundreds of products and services, by age, income, household type, race and Hispanic origin, region of residence, and educational attainment of householder. Identifies which households spend the most on those products and services, and which control the largest share of spending. Also included is a product-by-product analysis of spending trends before and after the Great Recession, and a prediction of future trends.
You can limit your search to scholarly articles, and will find things like: the effects of social media use across Fortune 500 companies; examples of public relations campaigns in various sectors; the relationship of evaluation and transparency to PR success; and windows into the history of the PR industry itself. These can provide insights into the role(s) and function(s) of a PR professional.