Focus on Solutions in PR Surveys
A public relations client early in my career gave this assessment of my work: “Joe is strong at highlighting problems, but what I really care about is solutions.” That was many years ago, after I left university teaching and started doing client work full time. Her words have stayed with me and deeply shaped the work that Versta does.
I was reminded of it when I came across this survey about fear of needles. It reports statistics on how many are fearful of needles and avoiding medical care as a result. But it’s a story begging for a conclusion, which the press release authors and survey designers forgot to include. It is a good example of highlighting problems, but not offering solutions. If you’re a motivated reader of that story, you can fill in the conclusion by reading the paragraph at the bottom about the sponsoring healthcare company’s business, but how many people read that, and how often does such information make it into a story picked up by the press?
When developing surveys for news stories and communications outreach, it is important to describe the problem, document it, measure it, and quantify it. Statistics are powerful ways to tell stories and highlight problems. But it is just as important to take the next step and describe unmet needs and solutions.
Here are some ways Versta has learned to focus on solutions:
- Document problems that can be improved with your product
- Measure consumer frustration with current solutions (or lack of them)
- Ask about the perceived value of benefits that your product offers
Think of it like healthcare: We want the diagnosis of what’s wrong, but we also need the prognosis and a treatment plan, all wrapped up in a story told through numbers.
—Joe Hopper, Ph.D.