top of page

#AskBurges: The Importance of Community-Based Research in the COVID-19 Era

Institutions and municipalities across the country have had to make drastic changes over the last two months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that there are signs that we have flattened the curve, individuals and organizations are expressing their desire to get back to normal.

What does back to normal look like, and when might we be there? Ohio businesses are reopening as part of Gov. Mike DeWine’s plan, but all indications suggest life will remain different than it was prior to mid-March. Social distancing limitations will still be in effect, people will be asked to wear masks in the workplace, and DeWine is signaling that if K-12 schools reopen in the fall, we should be prepared for a blended model.

Groups have been conducting and compiling nationwide and statewide research since stay-at-home orders have been in place. The United States Census Bureau announced in late April that it will be administering two surveys to track changes among small businesses and the American public due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At Burges & Burges Strategists, we have been working with several, major Ohio organizations to measure how well their customers and stakeholders are responding to changed services, and what they will need to re-adjust in the months or even years ahead. This actionable research will also measure how constituents think you are doing in this crisis; how you can meet the challenges ahead; and how much support or loyalty it engenders. The research is customizable to meet the unique or local needs of virtually any public or corporate organization.

Would your organization do a better job of delivering services and meeting customer expectations if you had this kind of data at the local level available for your use?

The answer is almost certainly, “yes.” National and statewide surveys can be valuable tools, but cannot replace insight on your own community.

A need for local research

If you already have good data on how your customers are processing the impacts and implications of COVID-19, you are in a position to respond. However, neither anecdotes nor generalities are enough in most cases.

Leaders need data to drive the right decisions. You need to ask people directly to find out how they are processing situations and forming priorities. Your local thought leaders, end-users, clients, partners and business owners can provide you the information you need in order to plan, organize, allocate, execute and communicate effectively.

People form their perceptions of an organization’s quality or commitment every single day, and a true test for many is how that organization responds to a crisis. What you do now – and how people perceive those actions – could shape their views of you and your team for YEARS.

Critical tools like surveys, interviews and facilitated community conversations help organizations collect the information needed to provide value to customers or constituents. No organization should make decisions that impact the public without data on the needs, concerns, hopes, fears and behaviors of its customers.

#AskBurges about planning your local research today by emailing

bottom of page