For the past two years, five of our industry’s top professionals have been working feverishly to assemble a single repository for the best practices in organizational communications.
I’m pleased to announce that Keith Burton, Gary Grates, Bruce Berger, Maril MacDonald and Frank Ovaitt have succeeded in creating the gold standard for students, professionals and academics in search of the latest and greatest thinking in internal/employee communications. It’s called the Organization Communication Research Center, and can be found at www.instituteforpr.org/orgcomm.
I recently sat down with my good friend, fellow mountain climber and president of Insidedge, Keith Burton, to learn more about the IPR’s new service offering.
1.) Why is IPR launching the Center now? What particular market need did it fill (since most medium and large-sized agencies and corporate departments already possess their own research capabilities)?
KB: "Our Commission on Organizational Communication (myself, Maril MacDonald, Dr. Bruce Berger, Gary Grates and Frank Ovaitt) started this work more than two years ago. We did so after identifying employee/internal communications as one of the most significant areas that would benefit from expanded research on key topics. We talked with our trustees to get their input and feedback. We reviewed existing research, white papers and materials promoting thought leadership in this area. Ultimately, we centered on three areas of work: Building a new knowledge management repository on the existing Website (the Employee Engagement Research Center). 'Curating' and populating the site with content. And conducting new research on the best-in-class practices in employee communication among leading global companies."
2.) What are some examples of the types of research one would find on the Center's website? Is it 100 percent free? And, is the IPR expecting attribution if, and when, the Center's research is used by a third party?
KB: "We identified more than two dozen major topics, ranging from the benefits communication to employee value proposition to internal branding to organizational culture, for example. There's no cost to those who visit and we encourage efforts to spread the word about our work and to facilitate the use of research-based knowledge by practitioners, academics and students. Visitors using the site for individual non-commercial purposes have our advance permission to reproduce, retrieve and/or use the information and images contained in these IPR web pages provided they don't modify the information in any way and include attribution to the author(s) and to the IPR, with our copyright notice."
3.) Does the Center replace an existing IPR set of research services? If so, which ones?
KB: "This new knowledge management site is not replacing existing research service. It is the first of what we expect will be several new online centers for knowledge in key disciplines, including social media and corporate social responsibility."
4.) I've always associated the IPR with measurement. Does the Center reflect a broadening in scope of IPR's strategic vision?
KB: "As you know – the Institute is recognized for providing the science beneath the art of public relations. Our mission is to focus on research that matters to our profession, providing timely insights and applied intelligence that professionals can put to immediate use." (Note to readers: IPR’s President and CEO, Frank Ovaitt, added that anyone interested in learning more about the Institute’s broad charter and strategic mission can find a veritable treasure trove of information at www.instituteforpr.org.).
5.) Speaking of vision, what are IPR's short and long-term goals? And, how will you measure the new Center’s success?
KB: "The new Center represents our desire to be the leading resource on topics and areas of discipline that are of greatest interest to our profession. And, we’ll judge the new Center’s success by the number of people who visit the site, download and re-purpose our information and, ultimately, contribute new and useful content to it themselves."
6.) Will IPR begin paralleling the Advertising Research Bureau's business model (i.e. selling reports, hosting large galas, handing out awards, etc.?).
Note to readers: Keith handed this final question to Frank, who said, “I don’t see us selling research or reports. We see our mission as getting practitioners to use more research in their work, and academics to produce more research that matters to the practice. Giving the content away seems the best way to accomplish that mission.”
I urge any, and all, Repman readers to visit the new Center and help spread the news about this remarkable new offering. It seems to me the more scientific and rigorous our research, the less likely we are to be call called spin doctors, flaks or any other negative pejorative in the popular lexicon. Three cheers for Frank, Keith, Gary, Bruce and Maril!