Keeping It Secret

By Wayne Clouten, BPR

An often-asked question, particularly for a radio station conducting strategic research for the first time is: “who should be in the meeting when the research is presented?” The short answer to that question is – any who needs to know, however sometimes it is not that simple.

Generally, those people attending a strategic meeting will be stakeholders in the information to be presented, particularly those responsible for determining or managing that station’s strategy and tactics so normally the group will comprise senior management and department heads.  Anyone in a strategic meeting should be a trusted member of staff and NOT be out of contract.  In this regard it is good practice for any person attending a strategic meeting to have a contract that includes clauses relating to preserving confidentiality.

If a station has a desire to expose the research findings to a broader group of the staff, it is important to consider the following:

  1. Keep it simple and keep it short. Don’t feel you need to show everything. Ideally present a summary of the research report with just a few key findings of interest.
  2. Only show what you can explain. Don’t reveal issues that are speculative or unproven by trends.
  3. If there is bad news, try to balance it with good news.
  4. Avoid showing any data which may compromise a member of staff such as a presenter.
  5. Try to show data which is specifically relevant to the people in the room.
  6. Take the time to explain what the research terminology means. People fear what they don’t understand, and it is bad if people leave a research presentation confused or feeling threatened.

Another way to approach the dissemination of your research knowledge amongst your staff is by a series of departmental meetings. For example, you might create a summary of those findings relating specifically to your news department and hold a meeting just with your journalists and news director.

Regardless of how you approach the confidentiality of your research it is a good thing for everyone at your station to know that you invest in research and that your programming and marketing decisions are not dictated by personal whim or wild imaginings but instead a desire to better understand your listeners and the competitive environment you operate in.

In an ideal world, a research presentation should be about broadening perspectives, identifying opportunities and finding solutions to problems.  If your research is done and presented well, your staff should look forward to it.  Even if the news is bad, your research should offer solutions in an equal measure.  If your research presentations are just a one-sided lecture in negativity or confusion, then keep your research very secret. In fact, seal it in a box and bury it on a deserted island.



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