Interpretation of feedback is not so simple, specifically where the feedback is not negative. Positive feedback may not lead to positive results. For example: A company passed a proposal to launch a voluntary retirement scheme and asked the PR department to launch a campaign with an objective to create a favorable response situation among the staff members.
The PR campaign was very effective in creating awareness. A large number of the employees took interest to know more about the scheme. They inquired about the compensation package. They also wanted to know how they could invest their money if they take VRS. Thus, the PR department gave a positive feedback to the management and recommended launching of the scheme. Accordingly the company launched the scheme. However, the result was completely opposite. It was a flop as very few employees responded to the scheme. The PR campaign was successful in creating interest among the employees about the scheme which was interpreted as a wish of the staff to go for the scheme. It was a clear case of misinterpretation.
The interpretation of the result in opinion and attitude surveys is rather difficult. The interpretation concluded from these surveys should be further crosschecked to clear any doubt and possible mistake. In Publications and Survey Research, Dr. Edward J. Robinson suggests the following approach in the PR research:
- The researchers know the problem.
- They know what information is required to resolve the problem.
- They know where to look for the information.
- They apply pertinent previous knowledge to the present problem, and
- With the past and present information, they arrive at a decision.
In the case of sensitive issues such as relaunching of a product which earlier met with a stiff consumer resistance or relocation of a plant to a less expensive district, interpretation of feedback should be based on intensive cross-checking of data. If there is any doubt, further evaluation should be conducted.