“We are magnificent! We are amazing! We ARE fantastic!” (strikes Peter Pan pose and puffs out chest.)

Yes, we did it again!  This year we made sure our bonfire night went with a bang with a firewalk for the KIDS charity, which provides more than 140 services to disabled children, young people and their families.

It wasn’t the first time Firefly Communications had undertaken the firewalk challenge. The event, organised by the aptly named Blaze, took us through our paces with a series of motivational talks to get us in a positive frame of mind.

Hence striking the Peter Pan pose. Try it. Leg’s akimbo, hands on hip, heads up, chest out. Try telling yourself how fantastic you are today. Preferably not in a room full of strangers or on a crowded Tube.

It was Claire’s fault. Walker by name, walker by nature. She’s done it before but long enough to forget what it was like. But it was, she assured us, a cake walk – a mere 20ft of red hot embers ‘smouldering’ at 1,236 degrees Centigrade (human flesh burns at 300 degrees, Blaze reliably informed us).

So, with some trepidation and corn plasters at the ready, the Firefly team lined up to strut their stuff. We’d done it once and lived (well, one of us anyway), so why not do it again?

The motivational stress buster removed all tension – even though it was called ‘Learn or Burn’. We meditated, motivated and Elvis’d together. Yes, in a room full of strangers. That took almost more guts than the firewalking.

And then we were off, barefoot into the flames.

We counted them all in and counted them all out again. Unscathed, un-smouldered, un-corn-plastered, we hot-footed to the pub for a celebratory drink.

Well done to the team for helping to raise a whopping £3,514 for KIDS. This money alone can go a huge way to helping disabled children’s lives more fulfilling.

The money is still rolling in for the Firefly team. Sponsor us here.

So what’s next for Firefly? Diving with sharks? Skydiving? Bungee jumping from a crane? Challenge us here. We’re always up for a laugh….

Ask 10 different people what media they consume, and they’ll give you 10 different answers. As social sharing, search engines and ‘trending topics’ become the go-to places for fast access to the hottest stories that instant, it gives rise to a thirst for small, impactful and easily digestible nuggets of information.

Just take the most shared article on Facebook last year. It wasn’t Justin Beiber’s new haircut. Perhaps more comfortingly it was ‘The world at seven billion’ – a widget which shows where you fit into the story of human life.

Data is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s easily shared and can be represented in various formats. The media is hungry for more! So what if your company has no original data assets? Research is the answer.

We run lots of research for our clients – from simple, low-cost consumer omnibus surveys:

‘Is David Bowie a) over the hill b) still rocking it c) Who?? (I was born in the 90s)’

To targeted, more complex B2B telephone surveys:

‘In your role as an HR manager, what proportion (%) of your time is spent resolving conflict in the workplace?’

There are many options, but the result is the same – more coverage for campaigns, by more influencers, across more channels. Especially if you can challenge pre-conceived ideas or stereotypes.

Here are some of our recent favourites:

Scots are NOT tight-fisted finds survey of tipping as Welsh emerged as Britain’s stingiest people

Company: Click A Taxi, a mobile phone app

Why it works: It challenges a long-held perception, and its findings apply to a whole nation of people. Nothing niche about this study.

1. Scots are NOT tight-fisted finds survey of tipping as Welsh emerged as Britain’s stingiest people

Company: Click A Taxi, a mobile phone app

Why it works: It challenges a long-held perception, and its findings apply to a whole nation of people. Nothing niche about this study.

2. Drivers sleep in car to save fuel

Company: RAC, breakdown recovery

Why it works: Soaring fuel prices are a real concern for a nation of car-lovers. This research adds fuel to the debate, and supports The Sun’s own campaign to keep prices low – it is also well integrated back into the brand’s own proposition and not all surveys are.

3. Blue Monday’s job hunt

Company: Job Bounties

Why it works: tapping into cyclical calendar events that media editors are looking for, and capturing the mood of a nation.

4. Suited and Loubouted: Women spend a FIFTH of their salary on work clothes every year

Company: Brother UK, printers and electronics

Why it works: Minimum 50% of the population will be able to relate to this and have an opinion on it across social sites. Brother UK cleverly partnered with a celebrity, columnist Grace Dent, to add a bit of extra sparkle and credibility to the findings.

5. Bookshop numbers halve in just seven years

Company: Experian, credit services for individuals and businesses
Why it works: The findings present the trend from bricks to clicks in hard numbers. It’s impactful and can be supported by testimonials.

6. Small business owners trust energy firms less than banks, finds new study

Company: MakeItCheaper, energy switching service

Why it works: The Robin Hood sentiment. It publicises the plight of small business owners trying to survive against rising energy prices and ‘fat cat bankers’.

Occasionally the numbers are right under your nose, already within the company. They just need mining, such as this simple study from Match.com – Looking for love online? Log on at 8.52pm tonight – and this from payroll company Vocalink – Workers ‘£89 a month worse off’ than before crisis.

Partners and customers are another potential sample for research through simple, low-cost surveys.  We’re working with Give as you Live to carry out the ‘Digital Giving Review’ and ‘Digital Donor Review’, using its reach within the charity and charity giving spaces. The first report – which produced online giving insights from over 500 charities – was so successful that this year we are mid-way through surveying charity supporters, in order to get their perspective on the same subject.

Research is simple and doesn’t need to be expensive. It just takes a newsworthy idea and the right questions. Whether you’re targeting consumers or businesses, it’s an excellent mechanic to increase brand recognition – and offers all departments original data to use again and again. 99% of comms professionals consider it an essential item in their toolkit.

Is it time to shape your reputation?

We operate in London, Paris and Munich, and have a network of like-minded partners across the globe.

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