Reports provide a valuable opportunity to highlight an organization’s thought leadership.
When embarking on a reporting strategy, it’s important to define exactly what the report’s role will be for the organization. Keep in mind that it’s okay if the purpose is to solely attract media coverage, as long as that is clear from the start. It’s also important to define KPIs for what the report is to accomplish. Ensuring you have a cohesive, well-thought-out game plan will save you time, resources and grief in achieving your end result.
Content for reports can come from a variety of sources, just a few of these include:
- For companies that produce large quantities of data, that data can be organized to express an organization’s point of view on a given topic
- Other organizations that don’t produce a lot of data may have customer data that can be aggregated and anonymized
- Surveys can generate high-quality data and surveys can take many forms, ranging from “soft soundings” that might include qualitative opinions from as few as 10-20 respondents, or more complex, statistically significant surveys of several hundred or thousand respondents
Before anything else, create a strategy for the report that answers questions such as: what is the organization trying to accomplish, who will execute the work, when does the organization plan to release the results and how will it release the results (e.g., give private reviews to existing customers first and then roll out publicly).
Key Ingredients of Reports
- Data, Forecasts, and Opinions – Analyzing data and developing impact statements that guide the target audiences are essential attributes of your report
- Point of View – Have a point of view you want the report to communicate, i.e., create a hypothesis and use the report to confirm that hypothesis or create a new one
- Timeliness – Ensure your research is timely and new, whether completely novel or building on past research
- Predictions or Trend Analysis – This is optional, but helpful. If your organization produces a report quarterly or yearly, you have an opportunity to conduct a trend analysis that the audience can follow
Following your research, you will have a large amount of data to analyze. It’s important to go into your analysis with the hypothesis in mind to keep you on track with what you are hoping to find. Picking out key themes in the data creates an overarching narrative for your final report, and the microtrends within the data will add color to the picture. Be sure to take time in analyzing crosstabs of data to find different links in your findings. Best utilize your resources by breaking the research into multiple reports!
Here are three examples of how UPRAISE applied these principles to varying types of reports for our clients:
SiBEAM had developed a chipset that enabled home entertainment components (TVs, DVD players, receivers, speakers, et al.) to transmit HD signals wirelessly using the 60GHz frequency band. This enabled the highest quality transmission, but only for up to 60 feet and not through walls, floors or ceilings. People could hang their TVs on one side of the room and keep their other components in a cabinet on the other side of the room. A competing technology enabled HD transmission to multiple rooms, but with a degraded HD signal.
In October, SiBEAM stated the competing technology would have a major announcement at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, and SiBEAM would not. SiBEAM challenged us to come up with an idea that would secure meetings at CES as well as media coverage. We proposed a worldwide consumer survey to determine which technology people preferred. We conducted the survey in the U.S., Japan, Korea, China, the UK, France and Germany. The key finding was that 72% of consumers worldwide preferred SiBEAM’s technology. We released the survey three days before the start of CES. The research earned 225 articles during the week of CES, more than double the number of the competitor, and SiBEAM secured 40% more meetings with prospective customers. Approximately 45% of the articles that covered the competitor also contained content about SiBEAM’s survey, and the media continued to include survey results in its coverage of wireless HD technology for the rest of the year.
Cushion had developed an app that helped consumers identify and remove late, overdraft and other fees that banks, credit card issuers and others tack on to peoples’ statements each month. The company had very little news and asked UPRAISE to create ideas that would highlight how much these fees cost consumers each year. UPRAISE recommended aggregating Cushion’s customer data by the 14 types of fees Cushion tracks, calculating the average consumers paid for each type of fee and then comparing trends for the current year and previous year of a given fee and comparing the different types of fees.
Our research revealed that in the current year, consumers paid an average of $416 in total fees versus $324 the previous year, a jump of 29%. The report determined consumers paid the most in credit card, overdraft and balance transfer fees. It identified foreign transactions, excess activity and withdrawal limit fees as those consumers paid the least. Cushion pushed the report out to current customers as part of a campaign to increase their subscription levels and used it as the core of a new campaign to generate additional app downloads.
TripleBlind invented a new approach for privacy-enhancing technology that enables organizations to generate insights from each other’s data without actually sharing the data, ensuring these organizations remain in compliance with HIPAA, GDPR and other data privacy standards. Our work in the first year of the engagement focused on a “believability campaign” including high-quality media coverage, analyst reports and testimonials from experts — since TripleBlind’s technology was so new, many chief data officers didn’t believe it actually worked.
After that first year, we recommended moving into a thought leadership campaign to position TripleBlind as the superior PET available on the market. To create content that supported TripleBlind’s leadership positioning with customers and prospects as well as to earn media coverage, UPRAISE recommended TripleBlind conduct a survey of 150 chief data officers, eliciting their opinions on the most significant threats to their organization’s data privacy and related questions. The key finding of the survey was that 94% of CDOs believed that optimized data privacy practices would help their organizations achieve higher revenues and nearly half stated it would give their organizations a competitive edge. UPRAISE earned more than 30 articles in a two-week period when publishing the survey. TripleBlind CEO, Riddhiman Das, reported that the survey also resulted in TripleBlind securing a meeting with HCA, the world’s largest healthcare organization, that he had been trying to secure for more than six months.
To determine if reports are an effective strategy for your organization, ask yourself these questions:
- Does your organization have at least the “essential” ingredients to produce one or more reports?
- Do you know how you will utilize report results in your organization’s sales and marketing programs? Are the goals for creating the report clear?
- Are you willing to devote budget and other resources to create the report?
- Is there a specific hypothesis you want to confirm or refute?
If you answered yes to these questions, you’re ready to get started! Contact UPRAISE today to learn more about how to create reports and white papers that get attention for your business.