Nathan Richter, senior partner at Wakefield Research and leading expert in market research and public relations, spoke to students at American University’s Kogod School of Business as part of the Fall curriculum.

During his talk, Richter emphasized that all brands rely on public relations at some point in their life cycle to raise awareness, shift public perceptions or help the public realize a need for a good or service. Earned media—the gold standard of public relations—allows brands to reach their target audiences and borrow equity through a trusted media source. He cautioned, though, that this can only happen with honesty and accuracy, and to lose these is to lose the trust of your target audience.

Richter went on to explain that hypothesis-driven research, like the PR Polling conducted at Wakefield Research, can produce creative, media-ready insights to generate earned media opportunities for brands looking to raise their profile by microtargeting the right audience with the right questions.

The students were eagerly engaged, asking a series of questions throughout the presentation that revealed their interest in market research and public relations. “I was happy to be able to speak to the students at the Kogod School of Business,” said Richter. “If they approach their careers with the same interest they had during my talk, I’m excited for the future of PR and market research.”