Campaign Update and Reflection
While our group has not met in person outside of the allotted class time for this second update we have communicated via Facebook group messenger every Tuesday or Thursday to discuss plans and contacting the client. We planned a second meeting with our client, Great Rides Fargo. The meeting took place on Tuesday and was very beneficial. We are working to sett up an educational awareness campaign surrounding a winter biking event held by Great Rides Fargo. In the most recent meeting with the client, they agreed to our creation of a mock social media post as well as a mock press release. They emailed us an example of a previous press release to use as a reference to keep consistent voice for the company. Great Rides Fargo also stated that we may gain access to their social media if our work is approved. We will work on the press releases and social media posts over the next few weeks.
Our group has also begun to develop a plan for creating a survey. We were stalled by a lack of communication from the client regarding assignment requirements. However, we had set up a few baseline questions that we are able to build upon after this second meeting. The questions include: Are you a bike owner?; Do you ride your bicycle in the winter?; How often do you ride your bicycle?; Have you heard of Great Rides Fargo?; Would you be interested in a winter biking event?. We plan to include more winter bike education questions, questions relating to social media, and demographic questions as well. The survey will be our first step in gaining information that will lead to the development of focus groups and interviews. This is done to ensure that we are asking pertinent questions that relate to our campaign objectives and goals.
The surveys will be given out in different areas to reach a variety of target audiences. A few of the areas that were brainstormed include campus organization meetings, downtown Fargo, Great Rides Fargo customers, and on campus. These locations will be utilized to ensure that a variety of demographics are reached both that are in Fargo Great Ride's target audience and outside of it to get both perspectives of the potential winter biking event. This information will be used to generate focus group and interview questions. Those questions will be more focused on the specific winter biking event, social media usage, and preferred forms of communication. Interviews will tentatively be the last form of research so that questions can be built upon from previously gained information from the focus groups and surveys.
For the second portion, I will discuss the online course reading from week six regarding focus groups. The reading discusses why focus groups are beneficial to both public relations and marketing communications. Focus groups go into not only the large scope of things, but also the smaller more precise details. The setting is also unique in comparison to other research techniques such as surveys in that it allows for the generation of questions as the focus group progresses. A focus group is defined as “a group of pole who are interviewed by a researcher for the purpose of eliciting ideas, thoughts and perceptions about a specific topic or certain issues linked to an area of interest” (Daymon & Holloway, 2011, p. 242). Focus groups also present evidence from a variety of voices on the same subject. They are also very interactive as stated above which allows for expansion of ideas and new perceptions of topics to be brought up to the group during discussion.
In addition to facilitating well-rounded group discussion, focus groups are beneficial for those participants who would otherwise not provide information. The general nature of being a group setting creates a trustworthy environment which allows for more open discussions than through other mediums such as computer mediated communication. This free flowing discussion is beneficial to researchers because large quantities of research can be obtained in a relatively short period of time. This research is more often than not analyzed through qualitative methods due to the in-depth nature of the information. However, the information obtained is a direct result of the conversations taking place which is why a successful mediator is key to ensure the conversation is on topic for the majority of the focus group discussion.
In order for the mediator the generate a well-rounded conversation there are many steps that take place before the focus group begins. The reading states that there are five stages in focus group research: planning, recruiting, moderation, analyzing, and reporting (Morgan, 1998). To briefly go into further detail, the first step of recruiting includes carefully selecting participants based on specific criteria that are aimed towards the goals of the research. Focus groups can either be pre-constituted or researcher-constituted groups. Pre-Constituted groups are made up of who share similar specialties or work, similar teams, or share same social clubs. The advantage of this group is that they are more comfortable with one another. Researcher-constituted groups allow for greater control over the group members, however, the group will not be as cohesive as pre-constituted groups.
After selecting which type of focus group you would like to hold, the next decision is between homogeneous or heterogeneous groups. Homogenous groups are the most common and with people who have similar interests. This leads to a feeling of cohesiveness within the group which also facilitates discussion. Heterogeneous groups are made up of people with different characteristics through major defining factors such as socially or politically. Focus groups can also be held in varying ways such as online, in work environments, or in a neutral space. All must be considered when creating a focus group to ensure optimal results. From this point it is imperative to have a well though out discussion guide before beginning discussion with the group. Once the focus group has begun, it is key to establish rules so that the group understands how to conduct conversation and potential conflict. The mediator must be friendly, approachable, and well versed in the topic at hand to guide the focus group accordingly. It is also helpful to have an additional group member present to take notes or record the focus group discussion for later use.
Overall, the content generated from a focus group can be extremely beneficial to many campaigns including public relations as well as to conduct general research. It is important to identify the five steps of creating a focus group, carefully selecting participants, and having a well done discussion guide. It is important to remember that focus groups are interactive and much of the discussion will be generated throughout the discussion while also being spontaneous. The group members present must allow for this conversation while also ensuring that conversation stays related to the topic at hand. There are many factors, decisions, and environments to be evaluated before beginning a focus group, however, the information obtained can be both large in quantity and valuable in content. References
Daymon, C., & Holloway, I. (2011). Qualitative research methods in public relations and
marketing communications (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
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