Ahead of the General Election, we've spoken to Scottish voters about the prospect of a battle of the mandates between Theresa May’s Conservative Party and Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP.
“Polling may need a shot in the arm, but it certainly does not rate a shot in the back. The snipers on all sides are having a field day.” (from In Defense of Public Opinion Polling by Kenneth F. Warren)
These are the sort of words that could have been said in the offices of UK polling companies over the last few weeks. The fact that they were actually said by pioneering US pollster Archibald M. Crossley in 1949 only proves that the challenges pollsters face today aren’t new.
I find there’s something very therapeutic about attending focus groups.
Not because everything the respondents say is nice. On the contrary, in my experience, they often attack the client’s brand with vehemence and venom and occasionally rip apart much-treasured campaign ideas in front of their creator’s eyes.
Why every good message needs a mate
Firstly, a disclaimer. When I say cheerleaders and communications, I’m not about to recommend adding some pom-poms and razzamatazz to the launch of your next Annual Report, although of course that might be a good idea anyway. Instead I’m interested in the Cheerleader Effect and its impact on how we communicate our messages.