From survey to story – what makes a successful research project

August 7, 2019By C8 ConsultingInsights

As the popular proverb goes: knowledge is power. This often rings true in PR as global research can drive the strategy behind campaigns and projects. Whether it’s to launch a new product to market or to understand customer insights, habits and motivation, conducting research can be a useful vehicle to inform your brand position, increase public awareness and identify new industry trends. The scope can be massive, evoking discussion across various market segments, and cross-territories.

C8 Consulting - Global Research Project

Being able to pull out a strong set of statistics can be an effective way of demonstrating the importance or relevance of your brand’s product, service or offering. In addition, if you’re equipped to talk about your brand with a series of robust results in your back pocket, this can mean earning some serious headlines – and in the business of media coverage that’s ROI right there.

Done effectively, a survey can generate an unbiased, accurate picture of the perspectives and priorities of your stakeholders and customers, and capture insights from industry leaders and influencers. In the initial steps, however, it is important to consider three things:

  • Your main goal of the survey
  • How you plan to apply the findings
  • How the results will make a difference – impact is key

Of course, there are further factors that need to be considered: reliability and accuracy, and a credible sample size and demographic is essential. To be considered credible, typically surveys (nationally or generally representative) should have a sample size of 500 – 1,000 respondents. Ultimately, to be able to seamlessly integrate your research results into a strategic PR plan, they need to have substance in order to grab media attention, which is no easy feat.

Making your research media-worthy

In June, C8 held its first media event at the BFI in Stephen Street in Central London. We had a great line-up of panellists that included journalists from the BBC, Channel 4 News, a freelance B2B tech reporter and a technology analyst at Global Data. One of the crucial topics covered was the matter of survey results and how to secure media interest.

A key takeaway from the event was the importance of research findings uncovering new insights – not the same ordinary, predictable statements and headlines. Powerful, industry-leading facts with credible sources that divulge something newsworthy and interesting. It’s our job (the PRs) to identify and fine tune the stories from the research, however, for there to be stories for us to polish there needs to be good survey purpose and design that underpins the research in the first place. For this reason, it’s essential when in the initial stages of research to involve your PR team to ensure there is a story to be told by the end of it. With the comms team’s involvement, you will be able to foresee the results and findings you need in order to generate a powerful story that would interest the press, and consequently build out and construct the survey questions and objectives to this end.

Moreover, to really pack a punch when you go to press with your research findings it’s important to provide materials for further information and background: a press release demonstrating the key findings and impact; case studies to inform the bigger picture, for example. At our event, the panellists stressed the importance of providing the full package, with imagery and access to key spokespeople at a company who can speak authoritatively on the subject and the research findings.

Global research: our network

Research that can represent global insight can provide real value – it has wider appeal and demonstrates industry trends, concerns or insights on an international scale. C8 regularly works with agencies across the world and our global network spans 20 countries and 6 continents, across EMEA, North America and Asia.

C8 Consulting - Global Research ProjectWorking with our partner agencies we regularly commission and coordinate global research projects, delivering invaluable, compelling international PR programmes to engage analysts and journalists. In adopting this approach, we are able to offer our clients local knowledge and expertise in their target territories and leverage their media presence, reaching and engaging the right audiences.

An illustration: Carbon Black Threat Report

C8 has been working with Carbon Black since January 2016 and last year launched the first of a series of research projects for the organisation.

C8 was commissioned to design a research project that would demonstrate Carbon Black as a credible voice in the industry and position it firmly at the forefront of cybersecurity and threat hunting thought leadership. We first delivered the project as a pilot in the UK in June 2018 and then across eight different territories around the world in December 2018. The next generation of the research is underway now, to be launched at Carbon Black’s first EMEA User Conference in London, October 2019, so stay tuned.

The objectives of the global research piece were to primarily increase awareness of the volume, regularity and types of cyberattacks and how companies should best combat these, and secondly to increase global brand awareness of Carbon Black and its key spokespeople. It was through our global network of partners that we conducted the research internationally to include results from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore. In total, the research surveyed 1,866 CIOs, CTOs and CISOs globally.

Following the results of the survey, C8 secured briefings with key trade media and 38 pieces of coverage in the UK, including ZDNet, The Telegraph, Enterprise Times, Sky News and Jazz FM. The total coverage for the Threat Reports from each territory is currently at 150 pieces: in Australia 16 pieces of coverage, Singapore 39, France 16, Germany 48, Italy 27, and America 11.

The research project was an incredibly cost-effective way to develop content that could be used across multiple countries. It gave Carbon Black the story to get into broadcast and national media in its target regions and provided valuable content for international campaigns, as well as forming a central piece for the company’s EMEA User Conference.

So… what made the Carbon Black report and its results original and media-worthy? The 2018 report was the first global report from Carbon Black and it was the first and only report of its type in the industry. No other Next Generation Endpoint Cybersecurity provider has created a report of this nature or breadth and subsequently Carbon Black has taken ownership of the threat hunting and island-hopping themes that were central in the research. Moreover, by researching IT leaders in each country, this created positive discussion industry-wide and achieved outstanding media pick-up.

To find out more about other campaigns and projects with Carbon Black, click here.

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