As an industry we often focus on how we are perceived by two key stakeholder groups – our clients and our peers. Not often enough do we consider how our cross disciplinary cousins in adjacent marketing areas perceive our value, usage and how we can add more value to them.
In the first of a four part series we look at how adjacent disciplines view research. David Taylor from Kwittken London provides the first input – from our colleagues in PR.
By David Taylor
The Numbers Tell a Story
Research is one of the most powerful not-so-secret ingredients in the PR mix. Data insights derived from research play a fundamental role in so much of our work. For one, they give us solid foundations upon which we can build messaging and advocacy: research supplies the fundamental proof points that make a point-of-view worth listening to. But research insights also provide light and surprising touches: the intriguing and unexpected details that bring a story to life, make it more ‘shareable’ and ultimately more engaging.
As a largely B2B PR agency, talking to professionals on behalf of other professionals, Kwittken regularly partners with research specialists to identify trends we can build into persuasive content and campaigns. And, yes, it’s right to refer to these working relationships as partnering, because we need to collaborate at a deep level right through a project – from research design to analysis and reporting – to get the best results.
There’s a lot of scope to use research-driven insights, and they deliver value at different stages through the lifecycle of a PR or content project:
Awareness at the outset of projects: polling helps us get an accurate understanding of what key stakeholders – like customers, media and influencers – think about a given client or issue, leading to better planned campaigns.
Foundations for compelling content: opinion research is one of the most valuable components for thought leadership and opinion-driven PR. Working with research partners, and targeting very specific research populations, we can uncover patterns in numbers that tell compelling stories. These insights give us a platform for our creativity and mean we can write authoritative content that drives big conversations and positions a client as an industry leader.
Angles that sell stories: pretty much every good story is a human-interest story. By offering us a view on what people are saying, thinking or doing, research provides powerful news hooks on which we can hang bigger stories. There’s scope to be really agile, using data insights to drive reactive news-based campaigns that have strong appeal for all kinds of audiences. For example, we ran a lightning-fast consumer project to discover how the public was responding to the emerging scandals around FIFA. Using this highly topical research, we could give news-hungry media informed insight on the fast-moving public mood – and that kind of speed really plays well with digital activations.
Above, I’ve looked at how a B2B-focused PR agency uses polling research – but it’s a core tactic across the industry, for consumer audiences as much as corporate ones and, once you’re aware of the use of research in PR, you’ll start noticing it in more and more news stories.
It’s not an overstatement to say that research gives PR some of the most valuable raw materials of our trade: it’s the stuff we craft into agenda-setting content and imagination- grabbing news. If you can work with us to get the insights – credible, trusted data analysed and interpreted in the correct manner – we can make those numbers tell a story.