Holding Up A Mirror To Society: ParticipACTION’s Call To Action

Imagine you have, by accident, a big smudge of dirt on your face—only you don’t know it. All it takes is one glance in the mirror to realize you need to do something about that smudge.

Surveys can serve as a mirror for society, in a way that nothing else can. They help people see themselves in context. This can provide comfort by revealing that you’re not the only one. But it can also provoke, by unveiling surprising differences and uncomfortable truths.

ParticipACTION recently partnered with Maru/Matchbox to publish the ParticipACTION Pulse Report powered by MEC in order to encourage Canadians to confront an uncomfortable truth: they understand they are not active enough and they accept that it is their responsibility to do something about. Pointing out these findings or “smudges” helps encourage action.

The Report states: “When the thoughts and feelings of Canadians are viewed as a whole, Canadians know what the problem is, want to find a solution, and don’t believe physical activity is an insurmountable challenge. Though we acknowledge that some external factors play a role and that we require the will and determination to make it happen, we tend to think an active life is within reach.”

They use this portrait of society to power a call-to-action. “People ultimately must make the active choice, but collectively as a society, we must make that choice easier. This is where we need support. The choice will be easier if there is a national understanding of physical activity guidelines, and the benefits of physical activity, as well as through the implementation of physical activity policies at all levels of government, in our workplaces and our schools. There need to be policies and the creation of accessible spaces that support active living and transportation, increased training of physical education specialists, and further funding of programs that encourage sports participation, as well as a physically active workplace.”

This kind of research-driven thought leadership is uniquely powerful. By harnessing the voices of a nation, it shines an uncomfortable light on the gap between what people know is right and what they are actually doing – there is a clear disconnect. Michael Brenner of Marketing Insider Group, defines thought leadership as “a type of content marketing where you tap into the talent, experience, and passion inside your business, or from your community, to consistently answer the biggest questions on the mind of your target audience.” The ParticipACTION Pulse Report powered by MEC builds a perfect call-to-action for stakeholders. The need for support to be more physically active becomes undeniable, because the people have spoken.

At Maru/Matchbox we do a great deal of research that fuels thought leadership, often through our Public Affairs practice. Our core belief is that people matter. Your stakeholders – donors, members, customers, citizens, employees – should be at the center of your business decisions. Maru/Matchbox’s Public Affairs practice provides organizations with the tools and insights to connect with the people that matter most to your brand, so you can build and maintain a competitive advantage. We can help you understand what the key questions are for your target audience and help you to best answer them.

Maru/Matchbox has partnered with ParticipACTION since 2009. We work together to understand what drives Canadians’ attitudes toward physical activity and provide concrete evidence to allow ParticipACTION to effectively and accurately further their mission to help all Canadians move more and sit less.

To learn more about how your organization can use research to power thought leadership, please contact us.