In a previous article we looked at the debate surrounding the value of the metrics used to measure the success of PR campaigns; namely Column Inches and Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE’s). In this article we look at some PR metrics which we feel gives the customer a much clearer idea of ROI and campaign value.
New metrics for measuring PR Campaigns?
In 2010, the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) presented seven new voluntary guidelines, for measuring PR campaigns, to a global summit of communications exponents from 33 countries – known collectively as the ‘Barcelona Principles‘.
The Barcelona Principles for measuring PR Campaigns…
First up, is the importance of goal setting and measurement. AMEC state that quantitative measurements, that address the ‘who, what, when and how’ questions, are fundamental to PR practices and should be carried out holistically.
Secondly, measuring the effects of outcomes is far more preferable than measuring outputs alone:
“Outcomes include shifts in awareness, comprehension, attitude and behavior [sic] related to purchase, donations, brand equity, corporate reputation, employee engagement, public policy, investment decisions, and other shifts in stakeholders regarding a company, NGO, government or entity, as well as the stakeholder’s own beliefs and behaviors,” say AMEC.
The holy grail, as far as we’re all concerned, lays in their third recommendation. Which is to measure business results from consumer or brand marketing. In other words, the effects of the quantity and quality of PR outputs on sales or other business metrics (taking other variables into account). It’s always been a tough, almost nebulous, concept to measure. But one of AMEC’s suggestions is to employ survey research “to isolate the change in purchasing, purchase preference or attitude shift resulting from exposure to PR initiatives,” they say.
Quantity and quality should be key considerations when analysing clips. Rather than just counting the number of clips, which AMEC regard as meaningless, it’s far better to try and gauge your audience’s overall impressions. So, for example, it’s possible to ascertain the quality of the media coverage by looking at such yardsticks as tone, credibility and relevance of the platform to your audience, message delivery, whether your company spokesperson was quoted, and how prominent your coverage was in that particular format. By the way, ‘quality’ should measure negative, positive and neutral coverage for the fullest understanding.
The emergence of social media means that those platforms require defined outcomes and goals, qualitative and quantitative metrics, and measurements based on ‘conversation’ and ‘communities’ not solely ‘coverage.’ As we know, there’s no real steadfast tool for measurement but it’s a good idea to experiment and find some measurements that work for you. There’s a growing industry that’s sprouted to provide such services, like Hootsuite and Google Analytics. Finally, whatever means of measurement you plump for they should be transparent and replicable across the board.
We hope that’s given you some food for thought? Far from giving credence to our PR activities, AVE measurement has held our industry back. It’s reinforced the notion that communications is a ‘soft’ skill. But if we’re to raise the credibility of what we do, both internally with colleagues and externally with our Process Industry partners, we need to embrace the broad spectrum of measurement tools to really drive home the undoubted expertise and nous that goes into making a great PR campaign truly successful.