Creating an Economic Index
Think only the government can create an economic index? Guess again! Any business can create an economic index to draw attention to company-mined data and establish the company as an authority on business or economic trends.
Some of the most successful data-driven PR strategies feature economic indices.
An experienced PR professional can consistently convert a unique economic index into quality media attention. But before that can happen, your business needs an economic index with real PR value.
A PR-rich economic index transcends the confines of your company and speaks to conditions or trends in the marketplace. That's where it becomes most attractive to journalists-and that's where you'll get the most mileage if you're creating an economic index as a PR device.
Almost anything is fair game when it comes to creating an economic index for a small business. The idea is to generate an index that reflects your company's mission, catches the eye of journalists, and establishes your reputation as an industry leader.
With that in mind, the best economic indices share several important features:
- Front line flavor. Journalists have a special appreciation for economic indices that feel like they have been created with raw, non-manipulated data from the front lines of the marketplace. Media professionals have access to an overabundance of data that has been filtered through government and organizational bureaucracies. Company indices, on the other hand, give journalists the sense that they are getting an unfiltered glimpse into real market conditions.
- Client-based data sources. Good economic indicators are constructed from client-based data sources. Without revealing any information about specific clients, you can use client data to generate an economic index that illustrates industry trends or tells an economic story. For example, SurePayroll (a leading provider of online payroll services) is very good at using client-based data sources to generate its "Payroll Scorecard" - an economic index that measures hiring and salary trends.
- Industry insights. Most journalists expect economic indicators to be representative of the entire industry. If your economic index features data that only reflects conditions within your business, it won't have value for journalists or their readers/viewers. Before you publish your company's economic indication, perform an informal reality check to make sure it has industry-wide application.
- Creative flair. Not surprisingly, journalists can't resist economic indicators that have a creative flair, but are grounded in marketplace realities. Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, had a reputation for identifying creative economic indicators like the "Underwear Indicator". Since underwear sales are almost universally flat, Greenspan translated a slight sales dip in the demand for underwear as a sign that consumers were extremely concerned about spending.
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Have you ever created an economic index? Are you thinking about creating an economic index? We welcome your comments, questions, and advice on how to create an economic index for PR purposes.