New Survey Sheds Light on Visibility of SIOP and I-O and Offers Valuable Insights for Branding Efforts
By Stephany Schings Below, Communications Manager
In the nonprofit sector, brands position organizations to build internal cohesion, develop credibility with external constituents, and achieve impact in the world, according to a new study by the Metrics Subcommittee of the SIOP Visibility Committee. For all these reasons, a brand can hold tremendous value—but what value do the SIOP and I-O psychology brands currently hold?
To help answer that question, the Metrics Subcommittee recently completed a survey, led by Mark R. Rose, along with Elizabeth McCune, Erica Spencer, Elizabeth Rupprecht, and Oksana Drogan, to obtain baseline measures of HR professionals’ and business leaders’ perceptions about two brands: The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) and industrial-organizational (I-O) psychologists.
In March of 2012, a 15-item questionnaire was sent electronically to a panel of U.S. business professionals (final n = 185). In July 2012, an overlapping eight-item questionnaire was sent to U.S. HR professionals (final n = 527). The survey questions focused on three areas: (1) awareness of I-O and SIOP; (2) channels of awareness, indicating how participants became familiar with I-O and/or SIOP; and (3) perceived value of the services offered by I-O psychologists and SIOP.
Results indicate that those familiar with I-O and SIOP tend to see value in the products and services offered, explained Rose. They also view I-O psychologists as committed to bettering both the organizations with which they work and lives of individual employees.
“I think the findings are very positive overall,” Rose added. “While we're not as well-known as we'd like to be, the customers who do know about us associate our brand with a high level of customer value and recognize the expertise and knowledge base that we use in our approach to workplace issues.”
The results of the survey will be used as a baseline against which future efforts at increasing I-O and SIOP visibility can be compared as well as help gather feedback from target respondents that could be used in increasing awareness of I-O and SIOP.
“The Metrics Subcommittee’s main objective is to design and implement a system of metrics to assess whether SIOP's visibility efforts are having an impact on awareness of SIOP and I-O,” Rose explained. “The purpose of this project was to establish a baseline of awareness as a comparison point for follow-up survey results, as a way of evaluating progress in improving visibility of SIOP and I-O. We were also very interested in finding out more about customers' perceptions of the strengths and weaknesses of SIOP and I-O, and the types of services they'd be most likely to recommend an I-O psychologist for.”
Key findings of the survey:
- 19% of all respondents indicate they are familiar with I-O
- 9% of all respondents indicate they are familiar with SIOP
- Popular channels for learning about SIOP and I-O:
- I-O: Classes, knowing an I-O psychologist, the news
- SIOP: Classes, knowing a SIOP member, the news, SIOP website, and SIOP-published materials
- Strengths of SIOP and I-O based on written comments: knowledge and research-based practices
- Weaknesses of SIOP and I-O based on written comments: lack of visibility and, for I-O psychologists specifically, lack of business understanding and influence
A full report of the Metrics Subcommittee survey results will be published in the April 2013 issue of TIP. Continue reading this story for further information about the survey results as well as how they will be used in SIOP ongoing visibility and branding efforts!
SIOP’s Brand Task Force
The metrics subcommittee has worked closely with the SIOP Branding Task Force over the past year, and survey results will be used by the task force in their ongoing project to implement a cohesive and successful brand for SIOP and I-O psychology.
SIOP President Doug Reynold’s gave an overview of SIOP’s branding imitative in his most recent TIP column (read the full article here).
“Studies of brand image conducted by SIOP over the past decade have shown that recognition of the field is low among nonmembers, and, when recognized, our image may not be associated with the attributes we desire,” Reynolds explained in his TIP column. “…The challenge brought to this new taskforce, and to several consulting experts supporting the effort, is to help us to define a set of brand messages that reflects the core of our field and construct a strategy to develop and promote it with external audiences.”
President Reynolds and the Branding Task Force will offer a sneak peek of the branding project, which has taken place over the last year and will continue throughout 2013, at the SIOP 28th Annual Conference, so make sure you keep an eye out for more information about this exciting initiative!
Efforts are also underway to better utilize what the survey revealed as underused channels, rose explained. For example, the subcommittee’s full report notes that this year SIOP will be inviting a wide range of non I-O business professionals from the Houston area to attend the annual conference, potentially increasing the annual SIOP conference as a channel of awareness for I-O and SIOP.
“In addition to providing a baseline measure of awareness as a metric to judge the success of future visibility efforts, the results suggest some direction and areas to explore for improving visibility,” Rose explained. “For example, some of the channels of awareness findings that indicated how people are likely to become familiar with SIOP and I-O suggested some channels that have been effective that could be targeted more, such as psychology and business classes, as well as some that may be underused, such as the SIOP conference as a showcase for I-O expertise.”
Where the Results Will Lead Us
The survey found that comments about SIOP were closely aligned with those about I-O in general. Perceived strengths of SIOP were research, knowledge base, and quality/credibility, while the major perceived weakness for SIOP was lack of visibility.
“The general findings were that relatively few business leaders and HR professionals are familiar with I-O, but among those who are, the field is viewed very positively,” Rose explained. “It was interesting to us that HR professionals familiar with I-O specifically cited lack of visibility as a primary weaknesses of the field rather than specific changes. They basically seemed to be saying that I-O services provide good customer value but that we need to do a better job of conveying our abilities to a wider audience.”
Similarly, the finding that I-O consulting firms (e.g., DDI, HumRRO, PDI Ninth House, SHL Previsor) tended to be more well-known than either the I-O or SIOP brands suggests that I-O firms are likely to have experience or guidance that could be of use in building awareness of the broader field, Rose explained.
“Finally,” he added. “The feedback that we need to be showing up more on websites and in other media is useful confirmation of the importance of ongoing visibility efforts.”