RESEARCH FOR PR: DON’T GET CAUGHT OUT

Friday, 19 February 2016, 11:57 | Category : General
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On Wednesday night we held the first event of 2016 for the PRCA’s Independent Consultant Group, which is co-chaired by our co-founders Nicola and George. The theme was ‘best practice in research for PR’, supported by our partner Opinium Research. Here, James Endersby, MD of Opinium, shares the topline thoughts of the evening about how to run successful, credible research projects that will associate your client with the trends or issues that relate to their business or something that they wish to stand for.

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James Endersby is CEO of Opinium and whilst leading a fast growing insight agency, continues to work closely with clients from a variety of sectors. James has a management consulting background having worked for the Monitor Group Management Consultants (now Monitor Deloitte).

For a long time market research for PR has had to deflect criticism of not being able to stand up to scrutiny, but with the right approach, research can still offer strong headlines, statistical validity and put your clients in the spotlight for all the right reasons.

What role does research play in PR? Why use research for PR?

Research can maximise the impact of a campaign across multiple stakeholders:

• Permission to speak: create the ability for your client to comment on an issue
• Dispelling myths and distributing narrative: elevate the reputation of a sector or issue by highlighting misconceptions
• Headline generation: generate coverage and secure buy-in from the media
• Reputation building: build or consolidate your client’s association with a topic or area of expertise

Research also develops insights that sit at the heart of PR strategy, including customer insights and trends, opinion former landscape and futurescaping.

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What makes some research statistics – and their resultant headlines – ‘dubious’? There are a number of contributory factors which include:

• Inadequate / incorrect sample choice for the subject being researched
• Poor questionnaire design
• Selecting research providers solely on the basis of price
• Research agencies not being involved in checking research-based PR releases before they go out

So how do you avoid this happening?

• Ensure that you or your PR agency uses a bona fide research agency which includes questionnaire design assistance in its omnibus/research fees
• Consider the definition of the respondents for the research – who should be answering the question for the best results?
• Discuss with your research agency the themes and angles you’re hoping to generate from the research
• Involve your research agency in interpreting the research findings – get them to check your press releases before they go out
• Ensure that all press releases include a statement of how and when the research was conducted
• And finally, if you are unable to answer a research question yourself, don’t ask it!

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@jamesenders

Opinium @opiniumresearch / www.opinium.co.uk is an award winning strategic insight agency working with numerous PR and Communications teams, both in-house and at agencies, around the world. Opinium conducts research under the highest standards, bringing an impressive level of sector expertise, creativity and project support, all helping to maximise impact.

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