Data: For some, the word calls to mind dusty encyclopedias or endless spreadsheets. But what it really means is evidence for smarter decisions and more efficient spending.
Over the last decade, DCGers and our clients have called on Vice President Chelsea Radler and her research team to gather qualitative and quantitative evidence: All in all, we’ve completed more than 300 surveys among 550,000 respondents, plus 1,500 focus groups and in-depth interviews.
Now, Chelsea has received national recognition from Ragan’s Top Women in Communications Awards. The award honors women whose dedication, drive, and innovative ideas have made a positive impact on the communications industry and their colleagues.
“Congress and taxpayers rightly expect government programs to make decisions based on evidence. That’s where we come in,” Chelsea said. The award recognizes DCG’s track record using data to create messages to reach the right audiences using channels and language they trust.
Making Sure Data Drives Campaigns
Chelsea doesn’t believe research should sit on a shelf gathering dust. She sees data as the fuel that drives effective federal programs and campaigns. Her research insights support decision-making across numerous government agencies.
To maximize data’s real-world impact, she creates inclusive mixed-methods research designs and data collection instruments. Then she methodically collects the data and connects dots between themes. DCG prides itself on going beyond “what respondents say” to understanding “what respondents mean,” getting at the heart of the most important question in persuasion: So what? This knowledge forms the basis of strategic communications plans, new ways to segment audiences, and messaging frameworks that achieve each client’s unique mission.
Boots on the Ground Approach Pays Off
Chelsea appreciates cultural nuance in data and thrives when collaborating with our dozens of local research partners across the globe. These tailored collaborations empower America’s civil servants and diplomatic corps to message more effectively and improve outreach programs around the world. DCG also designed, oversaw, and executed numerous evaluations and gap analyses stateside on important topics ranging from bolstering veteran health resources to preventing human trafficking.
“My mom always said, ‘Garbage in, garbage out.’ Gathering reliable evidence takes careful planning and execution, even when you’re working on a tight deadline,” Chelsea said. “DCG’s in-house team of experts is a major advantage.”
Chelsea understands that small methodological decisions made during research design can change the validity and utility of the data. She fiercely upholds ethical and privacy standards in all fieldwork, mindful that there is no one-size-fits-all approach in today’s diverse and rapidly evolving landscape — each project begins with a detailed discovery phase, includes a “Pause and Reflect” session, and wraps with an after-action meeting to record technical lessons learned.
In short, Chelsea makes sure her data is responsibly sourced, strategic, and actionable.
Colleagues Speak Up About DCG Research Team’s Unique Value for Clients
Some of Chelsea’s colleagues shared how her work gives DCG an edge over other communications firms:
“Under her direction, she’s converted skeptical clients into research junkies by helping them understand and see the value in data-driven campaigns. What started several years ago as one or two projects with some basic research and data analytics elements has grown into an entire research practice group and a strong area of expertise for DCG Communications.” — Caitlin Donovan, DCG Chief Operating Officer
“It’s hard to overstate the impact Chelsea’s research leadership has had on our client campaigns and engagements. From understanding the target audience and informing effective messaging to measuring reach and overall success, having hard data gives our project teams and clients the tools and confidence to make informed decisions. Whether qualitative or quantitative, Chelsea’s research is so effective and insightful, it’s like having the answers to the test.” — David Seidler, DCG Senior Vice President
“Chelsea is an expert at devising creative, culturally sensitive discussion guides that allow market research participants to talk about delicate subjects openly without causing confusion or undue stress. As a result, Chelsea is able to provide federal clients with actionable messaging and communications strategies that do justice to the complex realities of target audiences’ experiences. She is a pillar upholding the primary duty of researchers, which is to ‘do no harm.’” — Effie Palacios, DCG Senior Researcher
“Her expertise, work ethic, and dedication to her field are second to none, and she has the trust and respect of clients and colleagues alike. Data drives decisions. Data drives change. Our very own ‘Data Diva,’ Chelsea Radler, is a leader in her field, and we are all better off because of it.” — Kim Van Wyngaardt, DCG Program Operations Director
DCGer Receives National Recognition for Data-Driven Approach was originally published in DCG Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.