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How Research Can Lead to a Winning PR Program

Presented by the PRSA-NCC Professional Development Committee
April 16, 2014 - 8:00am to 10:00am

Online registration is now closed for this event. Space will be available at the door.

$45 PRSA & WWPR Members
$65 Nonmembers
$20 Students/Retirees


U.S. Navy Memorial & Heritage Center
701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20004

Research and data can provide needed intelligence and the foundation for communication success, yet it is often one of the first components that gets cut from the budget. But nowadays there are more options for conducting smart, cost effective research. With greater emphasis on social media and emerging trends across target audiences and limited budgets, what are today’s trends and best practices being used in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors ?  Explore how research is being conducted through social media and traditional market and opinion research methodologies and how to best leverage your data to enhance the results of your communication programs.  

Featured Speakers:

  • Tesfa Alexander, PhD, Director of Research & Evaluation for the Office of Health Communication and Education at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products, manages the market research for the new teen tobacco campaign, “The Real Cost.”
  • Irfan Kamal, SVP of Digital/Social Strategy, Ogilvy Public Relations, leads social strategy and enabling data-driven content production and tracking social/multichannel program ROI for private sector clients.  
  • Courtney Kennedy, PhD, Vice President of Advanced Methods for Abt SRBI, is a statistician and innovative survey methodologist with expertise in designing studies for federal, academic, non-profit and private sector clients and also serves as an NBC election night analyst.


Speaker Bios:

Irfan Kamal, SVP - Digital/Social Strategy, Social@Ogilvy.  Irfan leads social strategy and data-driven innovation. He also manages social data, platforms, partnerships and product.  Recent focus areas include launching real-time and brand advocacy offerings; enabling data-driven content production and tracking social/multichannel program ROI.  Client work includes projects for Ford, Samsung, NBC, Marriott and IBM. Prior to joining Ogilvy, Irfan was a part of the leadership team at finance and health startups, helped introduce new B2B and B2C offerings in the airline industry and worked in private energy financing. He has an MBA from Stanford and a BSE in Computer Science from Princeton.

Tesfa Alexander, PhD, is the Director of Research & Evaluation in the Office of Health Communication and Education at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products and leads the market research for the new agency teen tobacco campaign “The Real Cost.”  Tesfa also serves as an adjunct professor of health communication at the University of Memphis.  Tesfa earned a Ph.D. in Cross-Cultural Health Communication at the University of Memphis.  Tesfa also earned a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Communication from Emerson College, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Writing/Speech Communication from SUNY Potsdam.

Courtney Kennedy, PhD, is Vice President of the Advanced Methods Group at Abt SRBI.  She is responsible for sample design, statistical weighting, and assessment of survey data quality. Dr. Kennedy specializes in complex survey designs, particularly those featuring multiple sampling frames. She has designed large scale, multi-frame surveys for the Department of Labor, Rice University, Rutgers University, and the Pew Research Center. Dr. Kennedy has experience working with a range of sampling frames and data collection modes. She has served as lead statistician on dual frame landline and cell phone RDD telephone surveys conducted for the University of Pennsylvania, Brookings Institution, Public Policy Institute of California, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, TIME Magazine, and the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).


Dr. Kennedy has served as statistical consultant to the U.S. Census Bureau, NBC News as an Election Night Exit Poll Analyst, and Newsweek.  Prior to joining Abt SRBI, she served as project director at the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and senior methodologist at the Everett Group. She holds a Ph.D. in Survey Methodology, B.S. in Statistics, and B.A. in Political Science from the University of Michigan and a M.S. from the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland, College Park.