Let’s be honest: Not every client has a compelling story to tell if you look just at their products or services. So, a little investment in a poll or survey can help raise their profile as a thought leader and relevant voice in their respective industry. But there are a few caveats to observe so that the return on investment really meets your – and your client’s – expectations.
Think first which stories you want to tell and underlay with your poll’s findings: This is not about manipulating results but about asking the right questions. The poll is not intended to add scientific knowledge to the public but to underscore a certain fact or trend which serves as a springboard for your client’s story, so ask the respondents for these facts or trends as explicit as possible.
Think about breaking down the public into relevant segments: It might be helpful to have data for the same question from men and women, young and old people, inhabitants of cities and rural areas etc. to make comparisons. Even better if you can put your results into an international perspective.
Think about the implications of the findings: Not only the mere facts and figures might be a good basis for your PR efforts. What do these figures mean in daily life for various groups, for the company or for society as a whole? Interpreting the findings and deriving fields of action can heighten the thought leadership of your client beyond just having done an interesting poll.
Think about how to make more use of the results: A press release might be fine. But what about a whitepaper based on the findings and your analysis of these? What about a presentation event, maybe together with the pollster – where you could also present the first version of the whitepaper? Maybe the results help your client’s public affairs & lobbying efforts if they underscore a certain need or problem within society that the client could (help) solve. Maybe the results can be used to leverage an internal topic within the company.
Think about replicating the poll: Trends and changes take time, and a poll in appropriate frequency helps you make them visible and exploit them for your client’s favor. Maybe you can even create a kind of index that changes over time – just combine several aspects into a clever set-up, give it an intelligent branding and sell that index to the media.