From purchasing an electric vehicle to buying a home, we proactively find information before we decide.
Public relations and business communications are no different. When it comes to allocating budget to strategies that will help drive growth, why would anyone invest in a guess?
Unfortunately, it has been baked into the process for a long time — way before analytics and insights were available.
I’m proud to call a real data scientist, multiple engineers and social media specialists among my peers who literally run towards data and question it all day long. The ability to help clients discover new markets, provide hyper-relevant thought leadership ideas and help shape the conversation has me jazzed, too!
When business goals are at stake, it’s simply too important to enable PR guesswork.
Data Drives Strategy
Like an effective investor, using data to assess a potential opportunity is key. Data helps understand the business environment, and risk tolerance levels. Most importantly, it can help look beyond the horizon to identify trends for opportunities, as well as potential challenges.
For communicators, looking at the most effective data can definitely change result outcomes. In fact, we’ve seen data insights help clients discover new markets, plan more effective ad buys, and understand affinity audiences to help expand market share.
Insights: A Mini Case Study
Using our data resources, we analyzed a leading innovative car manufacturer. We were able to discover that even though the company had grown very rapidly, anger represented the biggest sentiment. More importantly, our deeper dive analysis identified the drivers behind each main negative sentiment point: anxiety about driverless cars; the high cost of the car; complaints from owners regarding the reliability of cars; and customer service.
Why does this type of data analysis matter? Meaningful data, not guesswork, translates to PR gold and digital marketing fuel. Strategies such as thought leadership initiatives, message development, and integrated marketing programs that include paid, earned, shared, and owned strategies.
Smart PR Aligns with Business Goals
As business consultants, we get it. Business goals and communications strategy are directly related and woven together.
The ability to discover and use insights for smart PR is one of the main reasons that I joined the Walk West team. We actually have a data scientist. I kid you not!
Here are a few common business goals with data-driven insights to help show how we leverage data for clients.
- Identify New Audiences for Growth: By looking at the drivers behind sentiment, we can discover affinity interests such as gaming, car racing or being a space enthusiast. Those insights could create new outreach or influencer campaigns, story narratives or events to help break through to new audiences.
- Increase Brand Awareness: As storytellers, we must find relevant messages that encourage people to care about a solution, industry or issue. Data can uncover the topics driving sentiment, and opinions about your brand and industry. This data shapes key narratives across social, digital and earned media.
- Build Engagement: By leveraging a range of data, we can develop initiatives and campaigns that tap into existing or emerging sentiment. And, using actual campaign conversations from social media, we can create categories of conversation, and show brands what kind of new audience it has generated, and their purchase intent.
It is smart business sense to leverage the right kind of data to help set communications strategy from the beginning. It builds momentum for clients and helps them stay ahead of the curve.
For public relations and communications, data must inform all strategic decisions from the start.
Otherwise, it is just guesswork.