The public and media’s desire for the newest, latest and greatest information can put a tremendous amount of pressure on a brand, especially when it’s without news. Most companies experience newsworthy events in a cyclical pattern—a peak when a product launches, but a valley when the product has entered the market and has lost its novelty. How does a company stay in the headlines when it’s business as usual?
Many evaluate public relations needs in peak moments or during a crisis. But an effective public relations strategy also utilizes downtime to share the company’s core values in a new and lasting way.
Recently, Chris Glazier of the Cookerly team discussed creative ways to look for fresh story angles. Gathering substance for new angles can be a great challenge. One way to make noise during a slow period is to get back to “science fair basics” and engage in targeted research that is aligned with your brand’s key messages.
It Starts with a Question
Research can take several different forms, surveys being a popular way to gather a large amount of interesting data in one task. Before completing any research, companies should examine their overarching goals, assess any information gaps within their industry and determine what new information could benefit both the company and consumers. Research without purpose thwarts the ultimate goal of positioning the company as an industry leader.
It Builds through Distribution
Once research is complete, there are numerous options to relay the results. Consider the nature of the data when assessing which channels are best to promote the information. In-depth research can lay the groundwork for a larger study and serve as support material for a byline, op-ed, whitepaper and social media posts. Results can also be used in marketing collateral or speaking opportunities. Solid research can also stand on its own in a press release or through an infographic that depicts the data in an engaging, accessible format.
Last month, Mashable published Allmand Law’s infographic assessing why some tech startups such as Zynga succeed but why Friendster and the vast majority of their peers are part of the 90 percent that fail. By appearing in a highly popular tech publication, Allmand Law, a bankruptcy law firm, positioned itself as well-versed in the industry and the dynamics of startups. Allmand Law utilizes its research to appeal to startup founders who might find themselves in the 90 percent and in need of its services.
It Thrives from Staying Power
Research typically remains current for at least a year and can serve as a benchmark for comparison. Each year Advertising Age surveys several media buying firms to determine the cost of 30-second TV spots during primetime. On its own, the advertising price tag for “American Idol” from 2008 would not be relevant, but in comparison to the show’s sinking ad rates, this older survey retains importance and the comparison creates an entirely new story. Most importantly, Advertising Age cements its status as a reliable source for insight into the TV advertising industry.
In addition, effective research has a high pass-along value. Recently, Monster.com teamed up with Millennial Branding on a survey that found Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers are more likely to consider themselves entrepreneurs and take more risks than Gen Y’ers. The companies promoted the results through a press release and infographic, garnering media coverage in Inc., The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, CBSNews.com and Fast Company.
Beyond initial coverage, such statistics have the potential to be used by others, all the while increasing Monster.com and Millennial Branding’s impressions.
Articulating what sets your company apart is important, but having research to substantiate why consumers benefit from that difference takes your brand to the next level.
Photo courtesy of Jimee, Jackie, Tom & Asha on Flickr