The Value of Early and Thorough Research
So far during our Auto Theft Prevention Campaign, we’ve encountered a great deal of success. It’s fair to say that before the project began, the nebulous situation surrounding automobile theft data presented a challenge. Luckily for everyone involved, we are old hands at conducting research, though. Our preparations for the campaign became an excellent case study in how research makes the difference in how well the eventual campaign designs will connect with your audience.
As one of the very first steps in our work, we assembled focus groups consisting of Minnesota local law enforcement officers whose beat centered on auto theft. Our firm’s leadership made sure to attend the group sessions, asking questions of the panelists. This process created an intimate familiarity of the issue from the very beginning and was integral to the strategy behind the campaign developed by Russell Herder staffers, Specifically, it provided insight into which issues were most pressing.
The statistics and talking points that would form the crux of our messaging emerged from ideas sparked during these focus groups. We learned that auto theft is largely an unpredictable crime of opportunity. A sizable portion of stolen cars are recovered, but some are damaged beyond repair. We also spent time sifting through the vast database kept by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension so that we could access local auto statistics relevant to the communities across all 87 counties in Minnesota.
Due to the fact we had put in the time to know our message and our audience, the eventual Auto Theft Prevention Campaign was something both we and the Department of Commerce could be proud of. The stakes we learned about during the focus groups formed our ultimate message: Take Your Keys. Always. We paired that stark phrase with images of what could be lost in an auto theft – including a photo of a dog, which symbolized the very real threat your animal companion could be gone forever if swept up in the theft of your car.
Not a pleasant message, to be sure, but a very important one. Given the importance of the work we at Russell Herder often find ourselves tackling, we’re dedicated to getting it right the first time. We do that through research.