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Does the panel think…?

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By Bob Bushby

    Tags:

  • B2B
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Market research
  • Marketing
  • PR
  • Social media
Public opinion has always mattered – think of politicians poring over the latest poll results or brand managers nervously assessing first reactions to their new product developments.

Today, of course, it has never been easier for the ‘public’ to express an opinion with the ever-increasing number of social media channels. However, while such platforms can sometimes provide some useful anecdotal feedback, they can never replace the detailed analysis of a comprehensive market research study.

Those who shout the loudest do not necessarily provide a true reflection of public opinion; and with many products and services very closely targeted to specific groups, it is essential that responses come from the relevant people. The comfort features of the latest recliner chair, for example, are unlikely to cause much excitement to a teenager.

The Value of Market Research

Market research is a skilled discipline that can play a vital role in the success of a product or business. That is why the market and social research industry had a projected turnover of around £4 billion according the 2018 Annual Business Survey (ABS) from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which was published last November.

Research findings provide valuable content for a communications programme as well. Independent surveys always deliver interesting news angles. They are also an effective means of gaining exposure for a company or brand. Hardly a week goes by without the results of some consumer research appearing in the national media – so a survey on what people dream could be carried out by a mattress manufacturer and the quest to find the nation’s favourite biscuits sponsored by a tea supplier.

Surveys are a useful communications tool in the business to business world as well. Assessing consumer opinions on a particular topic can provide the basis for news releases and longer articles, generating extensive coverage while at the same time positioning the sponsoring company as an industry leader and commentator.

Within Budget

Importantly, such surveys can be undertaken quite cost-effectively through almost immediate reach to a panel of consumers online. Video research is also proving increasingly popular, where consumers are invited to film and record their comments on and reactions to products, capturing their opinions in a more natural setting to enable companies to gain greater understanding of the issues and questions raised.

Such approaches may not have the scientific depth of a complete market research project, but they offer a snapshot of opinion that provides supporting evidence for a business’s key communication messages – and a much more reliable ‘dipstick’ than a flurry of comments on social media that can simply be the repetition of a minority view in a rather large echo chamber!

Making the News

At Nielsen McAllister, research has and will continue to play an important role in the communications strategies of our clients, delivering insight into particular issues and an objective picture of views that can be shared within the media and used for other communication activities.

For one campaign, research into consumer concerns about packaging and the environment provided an independent news angle for the launch of a new ink suitable for coding onto returnable glass bottles; for another client, findings around a lack of consumer awareness of the recyclability of plastic films formed the basis for a series of news releases, thought-piece articles and a presentation at an industry conference.

To find out how research could support your communications programme, contact us contact us for a chat.

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