In Brief: Customer Risks; Slow Workdays

June 3, 2019


Communicators Feel Pressed to Measure the Impact of Their Work, Survey Finds

A key focus for many PR professionals in 2019 is figuring out a way to accurately quantify the impact of their work.

In a Muck Rack survey of 800 communicators, ranging from boutique agency coordinators to chief communications officers at global brands, 72 percent said that the top challenge they face is “measuring business impact,” with the second most prominent challenge (at 65 percent) overcoming the “lack of quantifiable measurement.” And when asked how public relations can increase its value inside an organization, 68 percent of survey respondents said the answer lies with “measurable results.”

However, this survey revealed a difference of opinion on what qualifies as “measurable results.” While over 80 percent of polled pros said that traditional metrics and social media impact were useful in “quantifying the impact of [their] PR and communications efforts,” only 29 percent saw sales as an accurate signifier of success.

Still, despite the challenges of presenting quantifiable results to executives, communicators are hopeful about their imminent business prospects. Sixty-three percent of respondents predict their company’s PR budget will either increase or remain the same in 2019.

A Surprising Way to Encourage Customers to Take Risks

When marketing and consumer judgment expert Ata Jami went on a tour of the Empire State Building as a graduate student, he felt compelled — despite not having much money — to splurge at the gift shop.

This abnormal behavior from the usually risk-averse Jami inspired him to ask the following customer-habits question, writes KelloggInsight: Do images in ads that show a perspective from a high elevation, such as a mountain peak, sway people to make riskier choices?

To try out this theory, Jami displayed high and low elevation images behind the counter at a convenience store. After each poster had been up 17 days, he found that customers spent more on lottery tickets when the high-altitude images were in their eyeline.

Though the research isn’t 100 percent conclusive, Jami does see a connection between altitude and a sense of control, a key link that could help brands market new products and ideas. He writes, “[This connection] could be especially important when trying to promote new products, where there is a higher risk associated with them.”

‘Game of Thrones’ May Have Cost Workplaces $3.3 Billion in Productivity

In April and May, a recurring conversation around most office water coolers was the final season of “Game of Thrones.” But research from global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. reveals that the excitement may have been expensive for companies.

According to an estimate culled from the number of viewers who watched the premiere and hourly wage averages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the firm determined that “Game of Thrones” may have cost workplaces a total of $3.3 billion in productivity.

However, according to Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., the loss of productivity is offset by the gained sense of fellowship and connection among workers who watch the show, the likes of which may lead to better teamwork and collaboration long after the days of Arya Stark and Jon Snow are behind us. 

“The cultural phenomenon that is ‘Game of Thrones’ is another opportunity for employers to build camaraderie in the office,” he said. “Bosses shouldn’t try to stifle these discussions in the least. In fact, it’s likely they are just as enthusiastically participating in them as their employees.”

How to Make the Most of a Slow Workday

According to time-management coach Elizabeth Grace Saunders, it isn’t the high-stress days of meetings and deadlines that leave workers feeling helpless and lost. Rather, it’s the times when work is slow, and your schedule is empty.

“You might find yourself drifting — unable to get excited about the tasks you could do, moving more slowly than usual, maybe reading articles and watching videos that have no particular relevance to your job,” she writes. “You just feel bored.”

She says that workers can make the most of their slow days by pursuing evergreen projects, which may range from brushing up on professional development workshops to getting coffee with a colleague you’d like to collaborate with.

And when all else fails, you can always turn to administrative tasks like cleaning your desk or buying new ink for the department printer. “Being proactive keeps you from having to squeeze in these life maintenance activities at other times when you feel tight on time,” she says. — Dean Essner


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