PR Surveys – why you should be asking the questions

Author // Rick Maughan
Posted in // Brand, News, Opinion, PR, Research, Web

Our news pages are filled with the remarkable.

Compelling stories and screaming headlines that jump off the page and dare us not to read.

Heart-warming, heroic, horrific. The events that challenge or reinforce our ways of seeing the world are brought to our breakfast tables, train rides and lunch breaks whenever, wherever they occur.

But if we’re plunging ourselves into the unique, the scary and the unbelievable ‘real news’ each day, is there still room for more?

Is there still a place for survey-news?

The answer is, absolutely.

Why? Because we’ll always want to know what the ‘average’ is.

As we try to negotiate our way through this sometimes confusing, sometimes scary and sometimes pretty darn brilliant world each one of us, even the cool ones, asks ourselves us these questions:

Am I doing well? Am I making the right decisions? Am I normal? Where do I fit in?

Just as we’ll read a news story and place ourselves at the heart of it, empathise with the victim, loathe and question the villain, we’re naturally programmed to bring things into our own little worlds in order to process them, step into the story and ask ourselves what we’d do if that happened to us. How would we handle it?

Surveys evoke the same response but with further power to relate to the average news reader. They are interactive, begging you to put yourself against the findings and see how you compare.

Today on page five of The Telegraph, you’ll see five study-based stories dominating the page. A clear sign that survey-led news is as evocative as ever.

One in ten of us own a onesie apparently, it emerged today.

Whether you love snuggling up in an all-in-one ball of fluff or in fact question the sanity of a grown adult choosing to spend their time wrapped in giant baby clothes, chances are you will have an opinion and you will want to voice it.

You engage with the piece, natter with the colleagues around it. Talk value. And in a world where the real-life horrors and tragedies are brought to us now in full HD, don’t underestimate the survey’s power to give light relief.

Blokes who stick to the ‘manlier chores’ get more sex a study released today announces.

How many women will have read this and had something to add? How many couples might mention this tonight when deciding who tackles the mountainous ironing pile?

The excuses men use to avoid sex are also detailed –when we’ve tired of page after page of economic crisis, war and government corruption, is this not going to peak the attention of even the hardiest of serious news readers?

And the more serious issues are brought to life well too – home workers spend 33 extra days working over their office-based colleagues research finds today. No matter what side you’re on or how hard you work, read that and try not to compare it to your own situation. You can’t.

The rise of the Mail Online says a lot here. They know the reader, give them the balance of hard-hitting stories, sensational images and quirky tales. In a culture where everyone has an opinion a status or a tweet they want to be heard, they give that platform to engage and comment on each story.

And what can this do for a brand?

How many adverts did you read properly in today’s paper, can you recall any?

Backing a story that gives the reader an experience, something to debate or judge themselves by and proves a brand knows its target audience, empathises and can generate relevant conversations is more powerful than reeling off a price list.

By Rick Maughan
Account Manager, 72Point

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OMG. These are epic.

The Wavelength Group

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