Automatgenererad bild.

14 April 2014

Massive media impact for Entwined research

More than ten million readers and over 200 press mentions proved to be the outcome of research communication about Entwined. This emerged when the now concluded programme ordered an ambitious survey to show how its results had permeated the clamour of the media world.

‘This was the first time we’ve made such a deliberate effort to investigate the impact of our research,’ says Maria Kardborn, head of communications for Entwined.

The background was two important research findings that both emerged last year. One was that buying locally cultivated food is not always ‘climate-smart’. The other was that the number of environmentally labelled products is growing rapidly. Both these results had been produced within the framework of Entwined, jointly with IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.

‘We considered these findings to be of great general interest, and spent a long time discussing how to market them as news items,’ says Kardborn. As well as working for Entwined, she is employed as a communicator at IVL.

Media coverage worth several million kronor

A PR agency was tasked with writing press releases, and certain media organisations were given priority rights to the news. To subsequently obtain more precise figures about the impact of the publication, Westander Publicitet & Påverkan was engaged. Their substantial report, more than 300 pages long, has now been completed. It tells us that the news about locally cultivated food reached 185 articles and was read 10,381,959 times (not the number of readers). The news about environmentally labelled products resulted in 59 press mentions and was read 1,817,282 times.

‘That was a lot more than we could have imagined. In many cases, our press release was taken just as it was and put straight into the newspaper,’ Kardborn says.

If Entwined had needed to pay for the advertising space in which to launch these news items, it would have cost SEK 3,720,923 for the item about locally produced food and SEK 124,749 for the item about environmental labelling.

‘They worked out that publishing it in Dagens Industri alone represents advertising for 70,000 kronor.’

Planned use of media instructive

In research contexts, thinking as consciously as this programme has done about launching research news is relatively unusual. For Kardborn and the Entwined management, it was an instructive journey.

‘Maybe it isn’t appropriate for all news, but here there were two fairly clear-cut research results that could really get people to think differently. We devoted a great deal of work to getting solid support for the press releases and making sure all the researchers felt comfortable with the wording.’

Most of the articles mentioned both Entwined and IVL, but this was not the primary purpose. Part of the function of the programme is to bring about change. Maria Kardborn thinks it would be interesting to follow up the survey and find out how far these research findings have actually modified people’s buying behaviour.

‘My own behaviour has definitely changed. I don’t automatically buy local produce any more. Instead, I take the season and other factors into account,’ she says.

Text: Thomas Heldmark, Vetenskapsjournalisterna

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