How to Conduct a PR Crisis Survey | Market Research Company

Want to measure the impact a public relations (PR) crisis has on a brand? Consider conducting market research - particularly a PR crisis survey. 

Our market research company has the tools needed to target customers and measure the impact a PR crisis has on awareness, perception, sentiment, and other key performance indicators. 

Additionally, the survey can also ask customers whether they have heard of the crisis and what they know about it. 

When conducted over time, a public relations crisis survey can work hand-in-hand with the brand’s response. This helps the brand understand current sentiment among customers and be more strategic about the next steps to mitigate negative associations with the brand. 

In this blog post, our market research company will explain the process Drive Research executed with a client after experiencing a PR crisis.

How to Conduct a PR Crisis Survey | Market Research Company


What is a PR Crisis?

The first step in managing a PR crisis would be to admit that a problem occurred.

Admitting there was a problem is half the battle. While your brand is managing a crisis, it is important to tell the truth and provide relevant information to your target audience. 

During this time, it would be a good idea to conduct a PR crisis survey in order to obtain a general understanding of the customers’ awareness and perception of the issue.

Conducting a survey can enhance your brand’s credibility and it can also gauge whether or not the crisis will substantially affect your brand in the future.

Lastly, the results from the survey will give your brand the opportunity to act decisively to solve the problem.

A Real-World Example of a PR Crisis

While our market research company cannot reveal the client we will discuss in this post, we thought it would helpful to share an example of what a PR crisis is.

An example of a company handling a PR disaster well would be Johnson & Johnson’s response to the cyanide-laced Tylenol capsule crisis in 1982.

Unfortunately, seven people had died from ingesting the extra-strength Tylenol capsules, which had been laced with poisonous potassium cyanide.

Since Johnson & Johnson valued its customers’ health and safety over profits, the company immediately removed 31 million bottles of Tylenol from shelves and halted production of this product.

Afterward, Johnson & Johnson conducted a thorough investigation with the Chicago Police, FBI, and FDA to stop the perpetrator and prevent this from happening in the future. Johnson & Johnson went great lengths to preserve the safety and well-being of its consumers.

After the problem was resolved, the medical device company reintroduced Tylenol and made sure to include a new tamper-resistant packaging to each bottle.

Johnson & Johnson could have also conducted a PR crisis survey to better understand its customers’ needs and enhance their safety. 


Objectives of the PR Crisis Survey

Recently our PR survey company conducted a survey among consumers in a specific region of the United States for a brand that was experiencing a PR crisis. 

The client wanted to understand how the negative media attention impacted their perception and whether consumers would choose to buy from a competitor instead.

Specifically, the survey measured unaided awareness of the brand, aided awareness of the brand, awareness of the PR crisis, and other key performance indicators (KPIs). 

Read: What is the difference between aided and unaided awareness?


Approach to the PR Crisis Survey

Our market research firm used an online survey for this PR crisis research. When conducting a PR crisis research study it is important to act quickly. It helps to identify the gravity of the situation to know exactly how to respond.

For this reason, online surveys are the best approach because they offer a quick turn-around and gather quality data.  

For example, the market research timeline for this particular client was to draft and program the survey within two days, receive approval the following day, and launch the survey the day after that. 


Results of the PR Crisis Survey

Typically, the fieldwork timeline depends on the quotas and the incidence rate (IR) for each segment. Ultimately, fieldwork was completed within four days. 

The final results were shared with the day after fieldwork was finalized however, the client had access to a live portal where they could see respondents' answers in real-time. 

The client was provided with a scorecard that highlighted key findings and an online dashboard with live results tabulated into charts and graphs. 

The scorecard highlighted vital data points and will be updated to feature the results of future waves of the survey.

Are you wondering what an online dashboard looks like? Here’s an example of a real-time dashboard using example data


Is Your Brand Experiencing a PR Crisis? Contact Our Market Research Company.

By working with an experienced team of PR professionals and conducting a PR crisis survey after an event occurs, you can significantly improve your ability to mitigate the impact of negative publicity surrounding your brand. 

Contact Drive Research for help.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at info@driveresearch.com
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily taylor about the author

Emily Taylor

As a Senior Research Analyst, Emily is approaching a decade of experience in the market research industry and loves to challenge the status quo. She is a certified VoC professional with a passion for storytelling.

Learn more about Emily, here.


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