Facilitation Sessions, Focus Groups, Surveys, Polling
I have worked on amazing winning campaigns with (and without) these methods – and won against the odds in both types. Facilitation Sessions and Focus Groups/Polling do the same job for different audiences – one internal and one external. They use similar skills and help to achieve the same outcomes. They focus your activities, your time and your resources and make them more targeted and effective.
Test, test, test
But if you are spending big money, serious amounts of time and/or big things depend on the outcome – like your career – you should consider spending that little bit extra. Businesses are careful how they spend their money. Testing and re-testing of messages are important for businesses because they can mean mean the difference between profit and loss. In campaigns, testing and re-testing messages can mean the difference between winning and losing.
These are aimed at achieving an agreed, weighted and ranked set of priorities from an internal audience.
A UK trade organisation came to me with a classic trade organisation problem. They have a large and diverse membership. Some members are PLC’s that operate nationally while others have a small site and are privately owned. The problem faced by the trade organisation was agreeing a public affairs agenda and set of priorities that all the members could agree on, benefit from and give the trade organisation a clear public affairs mandate to execute.
These are aimed at testing, refining, quantifying and weighting already identified messages. Of course, these groups also throw up new messages on occasion that are then included in the analysis.
I was involved from the start with the national NO2AV campaign. The initial focus groups were held in Cardiff, Manchester, Glasgow and London and conducted by an excellent external partner. I attended all of these initial Focus Groups. The results were fascinating.
We had already identified a series of “issues” – one of which was cost. But we had not rated cost as being a high ranking factor until we saw the reaction to the cost issue at these Focus Groups.
Subsequent Focus Group work confirmed the very high resonance “cost” had with the public. NO2AV used this argument heavily in its messaging and I believe played a significant role in the success of the campaign.
Note: If we had been running YES – apart from not making a fuss about the figure which simply gave us free publicity, we would have said that £250 million divided by a population of 65 million and spread over 5 years would mean that the “upgrade” to AV was a bargain at 80p per citizen per year. That was why we had discounted the cost factor until the focus groups. Focus groups and subsequent polling showed us that this was an issue that we should lead on and we did.
Surveys and Polling
Exciting news for MPs seeking re-election.
I have now partnered with a leading UK political polling company and am able to offer you a way of keeping you focused on what actually matters to your constituents – and in which order. So you can be sure that your activities between now and the election are based on the things that matter to your constituents.
Email me if you are interested – firstname.lastname@example.org