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Understanding your audience is vital for any communications campaign – and if you want to find out what they think, often it’s best just to ask them!

Research and polling can achieve fascinating results on several levels. Often it provides intelligence to help a business develop its brand proposition and positioning. Reaching out to the public demonstrates that you care about what they have to say and are interested in taking a position on the issues that affect them. And, of course, the results of research can make fascinating reading, and provide hooks for media coverage.

Polymedia worked with the insurance provider Tempcover to develop a major campaign based on consumer research in support of its temporary motor insurance product. Working closely with the leadership team, we used polling to undertake detailed research to better understand how British motorists envision the country’s future of motoring.

The resulting Future of Motoring report uncovered fascinating insight into motorists’ attitudes to issues such as electric vehicles, rising fuel costs, roads infrastructure and the role of technology in future transport.

It revealed drivers’ concerns over the safety of smart motorways, driverless cars, traffic pollution and speeding, and their attitudes to enforcement – preferring co-operation rather than coercion when keeping the roads safe.

The questions in the poll were carefully constructed to provide the most revealing information in a format that generated angles for media. The survey was also segmented by age, regional location and gender to give deeper insights into the views of various demographics and to provide regional data that could be targeted at local newspapers.

Following the publication of the report online, a hard-working Polymedia media campaign broke it down for media audiences.

Our media relations meant national coverage resulted in The Telegraph, The Sun, MSN, Yahoo News, and two appearances in The Daily Mail, in its This Is Money and motoring features. Regional media and specialist media for the insurance media added to the mix, with the campaign overall reaching an estimated audience of almost 900,000 readers online, plus print readership. The report also drove traffic to Tempcover via its website and social media.

Following the campaign, the report was sent to Grant Shapps MP, then Secretary of State for Transport, to call on the government to listen to the voices of UK motorists, explore ways to improve charging points and facilities for electric vehicles, take on board concerns over the safety of smart motorways, and explore the use of greener technologies for a more sustainable future of motoring.

Alan Inskip, Tempcover CEO, said: “At a crossroads, there is always a choice to be made about where to go, and we believe the responses to this survey help point us in the right direction.

“Motorists want to solve today’s problems to lay the foundations for future generations and to achieve that, their voices must be heard today. That’s what this report is all about.

“The route to a more sustainable Future of Motoring will be a long and challenging one – but we believe we can get there if motorists, the government, campaigners and the wider industry take it together.”