Last month Galaxy Research, an Australian full-service research agency, visited Icon to give staff an update on the latest research tools and techniques.

Following the presentation, we discussed the benefits of using research and surveys in our PR campaigns. Here are 4 quick reminders of why statistics are so important

1) Shock. Stop. Engage.

“A lot of Syrian refugees have fled the country this year.”

“4,183,535 Syrian refugees have fled the country this year, equivalent to the population of Melbourne.”

Both statements are true – but which one is most memorable?

Facts help illustrate an issue, and quickly show how significant it is. In today’s busy and noisy world, where people scan the news and receive information in snippets of 140 characters, “so what?” is a question that you need to answer immediately – before it’s even asked. If you don’t, your audience will just keep scrolling.

By using statistics to shock and stop your audience, you can immediately engage them in your cause or campaign.

2) Inform with Authority

“When holidaying in Western Australia this year, you should watch out for crocodiles.”

“When holidaying in Western Australia this year, you should watch out for crocodiles - because a survey by the Department of Parks and Wildlife has found that the number of crocodiles in Kimberley has tripled in 30 years.”

In the same way that statistics can answer the “so what?” question, they can also answer the important “but why?” question.

Research and statistics give statements authority, and let your audience know that some thinking and strategy is behind the call to action. Numbers are key way of providing valuable contextual information, and won’t leave your audience questioning the validity of a statement – which can lead to the downfall of a PR campaign.

3) Hit the Headlines

Journalists should always be treated as a key audience for PR campaigns, as they are often the gatekeepers to your identified, smaller target audience.

In the same way that your audience will ask “so what?” and “but why?”, journalists will ask these questions as well – but often with more force.

For a news story to be printed, tweeted or read, it must generally have two or more of the following qualities: relevance; conflict; unusualness; celebrity; or size (it affects a lot of people).

When journalists are sifting through their inbox or scanning Twitter for stories, a statistic can help turn a story from news to newsworthy by adding another layer of quality to it – normally showing why your campaign or cause affects a lot of people.

4) Originality Rules

For some brands or campaigns, it can be difficult to keep making a noise in a crowded market. If you have no new product to launch, or no campaign update to make, you can easily fall-out of the public spotlight and be overtaken by your rivals.

A fun survey can often lead to an amusing headline and keep your brand fresh and relevant.

Previous PR from Durex highlights great example of this. Last year, when it had no new product to launch and could easily have kept quiet, Durex released a survey showing that one in 10 Australians interrupt sex to check social media.

In what could have been a quiet month for Durex, the company’s name was instead printed in major metro and national newspapers because of this cheeky statistic – boosting sales and showing the power of a quick survey.

We would like to thank Galaxy Research for visiting Icon, and will continue to harness the power of statistics to drive our clients’ PR campaigns and grab media headlines.