I'm a big fan of the survey as a marketing and PR tool!
So, in this issue of Marketing Coach we'll explore how surveys are useful to companies and examine a few examples of those who have leveraged surveys to position their organizations and engage with their audiences.
In case you were wondering, not all surveys are created equal. Let me take you through some best practices.
"Designed, fielded and with the smart reporting of findings, surveys are an important vehicle for helping you reach the audiences you want to influence..."
Research Makes for Substantive PR
The use of surveys is a valuable and underutilized tool in public relations.
While research can be used internally to understand consumer interests and demonstrate trends, surveys can be extremely helpful for building your company's reputation. Surveys can be used to provide industry insights and position your company as a thought leader to the press and customers, while bolstering your visibility.
Designed, fielded and with the smart reporting of findings, surveys are an important vehicle for helping you reach the audiences you want to influence with revelations about timely trends, attitudes and behaviors related to your company, industry, products or services, or cultural and societal developments that may be of interest to your customers and the media. To be effective a survey should be designed so that its subject and array of possible findings have a clear connection to your business or marketing platform.
Surveys used in this way do not typically fall under traditional market research, so they are usually paid for out of advertising or public relations budgets.
Surveys Position Leaders
Publishing surveys enables a company to bolster its brand by exhibiting its authority as a leader in its field. With each new survey a company reinforces the effectiveness and the impact of their earlier studies and gives the media valuable content that they can use to educate their audience. The easiest way to explain how effective surveys work for public relations purposes is to describe a few examples.
Verizon's 2013 Data Breach Report - Verizon releases an annual report that comments on the state of cyber crime based on the data breaches of major companies around the globe. This study is a meaningful way for Verizon to demonstrate its commitment to its customers' security and privacy, reinforce its leadership in telecommunications and technology, and even develop information that can be shared with its customers to help them prevent threats to their online security.
These reports are regularly featured throughout the media and web. They appear on major tech and business websites and are referenced in newspapers and magazines across the U.S. and internationally.
In the past Wired.com has uploaded the entire report and the most recent one was featured on ZDNet, PCWorld.com, Reuters, TechRepublic, and Forrester Research's blog, as well as on many other industry sites and blogs.
AT&T Texting and Driving Study - By conducting a study about texting and driving in early 2013, AT&T shows that it's not simply a company focused on making money from the text-mad public. The company demonstrates that it understands the risks associated with its product, educates the public about the potential damage, and instead of shying away from the issue and its product's role in it, the company draws attention to the problem of texting while driving and expresses its commitment to being part of the solution.
This research delivered great thought leadership, a service to AT&T customers and a valuable tool for corporate citizenship; and it is great PR! The study was distributed widely, spurring pieces by USA Today, CNN, and the Washington Post among many, many others. It also put AT&T's 'Stop Texting While Driving' campaign back on the radar.
Brittania Rescue, a leading U.K. auto insurance provider, recently conducted a survey on drivers' knowledge about the warning lights on their dashboards. This new research revealed that Britain's motorists are becoming a nation of 'dashboard dunces' baffled by the increasing array ofwarning lights in their cars, according to the report. Peter Horton, Britannia Rescue's managing director, said: "Dashboard warning lights are like alarm bells telling you something is wrong with your car and urgent action may be required, either to prevent damage to your car or for your safety."
The car insurance company appears to have used this survey in two important ways. It positioned the company as a thought leader by shining a light on common car knowledge deficiencies and simultaneously communicating to people who carry its insurance (and potential customers) that better care for their cars could potentially cut down on their future claims and costs.
The survey found that 98% of drivers don't understand their dashboard lights. Brittania Rescue made the connection that this confusion is leading to motorists ignoring the warnings with most taking at least 12 days on average to investigate the cause of a problem, which may potentially cause damage to their cars through continued use.
The study was a PR success with articles published throughout the U.K., including on the popular Daily Mail's website with over 1,000 shares of that article alone.
The most baffling light is for a faulty catalytic converter which was incorrectlyidentified by 95 percent of drivers.
Next for confusion was the air conditioning light which 86 per cent got wrong, followed by a tirepressure warning that flummoxed 71 percent.
Nearly half (48 percent) do not even recognize the brake warning light and more than a third (35percent) cannot understand an airbag alert, with almost as many (27 percent) mistaking it for aseat-belt warning.
Benefits of Conducting Surveys
A well crafted survey can provide the following benefits:
Build your company's brand image as a thought leader in its field by providing valuable information that is not readily available
Generate coverage in national, regional, and/or trade media
Provide great content for bloggers and social media
Present your company as a trend setter or educator by engaging in a conversation with industry experts, customers or the public
Give your company the opportunity to place by-lined articles in prestigious publications using the survey findings as a platform
Strengthen the image of the organization as being uniquely responsive to the needs of the public or their customers. Sponsors can claim that through such surveys they are empowering the group surveyed by making their voices heard to the media and policy makers
Give your company representatives the unique opportunity to make important speeches and presentations of the survey results to everything from your local Chamber of Commerce to policy makers at the local, state or federal levels
Gather information that can help steer your business strategy, including insights that lead your organization to create new products or services
Provide your sales team with a unique door-opener
Marketing Coach is a publication of Ivy Cohen Corporate Communications, Inc. ICCC helps companies build reputations and differentiate in a competitive market through brand building, public relations and strategic communications.
To find out how ICCC can help you and your company build your reputation