The power of research
Being able to quote independent research to support your business’s market position or lead opinion in a sector is an invaluable PR tool. The results of properly conducted research can create unique content and stands you apart from your competitors, so what are you waiting for?
Three steps to great results
Having identified that commissioning research will create unique content and enhance your position as a thought-leader, the first step is to work out your objectives. What are you hoping the research will prove? What are you hoping to learn and how will the results benefit your business?
The next step is to look for the right research company, ideally one that is familiar with your sector. Before embarking on a project, they’ll want to know a great deal about your business, your products and services, your clients, and your target audience. Most of all, they’ll help you configure the right questions so that the results deliver the range of conclusions you need to discover, and they’ll help determine the target audience and size of the research sample.
The final step is the fun part, which begins with analysing the results of the research. A good research company will conclude their process by presenting you with their analysis of the results, based on demographics and the projects original aims. Some results will reassure you as they endorse the very things you were hoping to prove, while some results always bring surprises. Add your own interpretation onto the research company’s conclusions and then you’re ready to take your story to the media through PR and other communications such as social media. As much of the analysis will be numbers based, also consider turning the story into easy to understand infographics.
Recent success stories
At Suzanne Howe Communications we’ve worked with many clients to help them define research projects, appoint appropriate partners and share the results with their audience.
One particularly interesting recent project was working with Kimberly-Clark Professional™.
During the first Coronavirus lockdown, they commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a survey about how Covid-19 has affected perceptions of cleanliness and hygiene in the workplace. Kimberly-Clark Professional™ then introduced the 360˚ Hygiene & Protection programme to help businesses get back on their feet and restore confidence by demonstrating that they were protecting everyone, and keeping premises safe. The programme offered a free virtual hygiene walk – bookable through a microsite. PR was disseminated to relevant media and included the use of eye-catching infographics.
Read about this project here:
Feeling more pressure to go to work when ‘sick’
Our client Cleanology wanted to understand the pressure workers felt in going to work when unwell, and commissioned Sapio Research, which questioned 1,056 respondents, including over 50 facilities managers. Read more here:
The research showed that while over half of workers (53%) have caught a cold from a colleague who should have taken a day off, the survey found that almost two-thirds (64%) felt under more pressure to go to work when they were ill than during the previous year. In addition, 66% blamed coughing workmates for causing their own illness, with dirty toilets and keyboards coming in second and third. Furthermore, 41% of those who have noticed an increase in presenteeism felt pressurised to go into work ‘very often’.
Cleanology CEO Dominic Ponniah said the research gave new insight into the culture around cleanliness and illness. He said: “While only a quarter of people blamed a dirty workplace for catching an illness, two out of five carry cleaning wipes. For us, as a cleaning company, this is a telling insight into the standard of cleaning in many workplaces.
“Our findings also raise important questions about standard work practices and whether businesses would benefit from encouraging people to work from home. More than half of those surveyed had caught a cold from a colleague, while 62% agreed that they are not able to work to the best of their abilities when they are sick. Respondents felt guilty for coming to work coughing and sneezing, and 57% of FMs felt that they were likely to make mistakes.”
Big isn’t always best?
Sometimes the simplest research can bring the most important results. Having looked at two recent large-scale research projects, we also recently conducted a simple survey of our own customers, using SurveyMonkey.
We just wanted to know what our clients thought about us, our style, the quality of our work, and the value it adds to their business. Let’s just say we were hugely reassured that from the results, we certainly seem to be doing a rather good job! Analysing the results has helped us positively plan for the future, proving the real value of even the simplest research.