At Thinkwell, we know that clear, effective messaging goes a long way in determining success in the marketplace. From our base in Halifax, Nova Scotia, our Research division has been helping government and business communicators to develop, and fine-tune, their marketing and public relations campaigns since 2003.
To support the creative process, and ensure clear messaging, our Research “Life-Cycle” has three core components: Concept Exploration, Message Testing, and Tracking and Monitoring. Organizations that engage all three elements tend to achieve the best results, however, conducting any type of professional research is preferable to ‘flying blind’.
Concept Exploration can be performed through a variety of methods, from public opinion surveys to brand positioning and client satisfaction studies. We use this type of research to map out the broad context within which your organization operates. Without revealing our trade secrets, we use advanced qualitative and/or quantitative techniques to pursue questions like:
- – What do people know about you, and your area(s) of expertise (or the topic)?
- – How do they view your organization?
- – What are its perceived strengths and weaknesses?
- – What do they think of your competitors?
- – Do they trust what you have to say?
- – Have your previous messages been received?
- – What is the best way to connect with your target audience?
- – And what do your ‘listeners’ want to hear?
Knowing the answers to these questions is the first step towards developing clear and concise messaging. Engaging in Concept Exploration also helps government and business communicators to bring the thoughts, feelings and attitudes of others into the creative laboratory, and start the content development process from a position of strength.
Message Testing is the second stage in our research cycle. Like all of our solutions, it can be conducted through various qualitative and/or quantitative methods. This type of research also enriches campaign development, by ensuring that your messages adhere to the ‘three Cs’:
- – Clarity
- – Credibility
- – Critical Import
In our view, good messages are notable, distinct and yet, easy to understand. They also sound authentic, and are grounded in truth. And we believe that good messages influence opinion, and inspire action, by appealing to one’s heart and mind.
Testing the ‘building blocks’ of your marketing and pr campaigns against the above standards maximizes their chances of success. Message Testing also allows organizations to ‘check’ previous insights, and fix any broken links or dropped lines that could hinder your messages, when they are released to the world.
Tracking and Monitoring
The last stage of the research cycle involves Tracking and Monitoring the effectiveness of your communication efforts on the short and long range. This can include advertising or message recall studies, or repeating brand positioning or public opinion surveys conducted prior to your campaign to compare against benchmark results.
Like all of our core offerings, this type of research doesn’t have to be all about the numbers. Sometimes, follow-up qualitative research (focus groups, in-depth interviews) is enough to tell you whether your message is, in fact, ‘breaking-through.’ The insights that emerge out of such sessions can also be used to kick-off the redevelopment process, if your messages need to be refreshed or refined.