Archive for the ‘PR measurement’ Category

PR measurement – today and tomorrow?

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 by Jon Clements

David Rockland - AMEC director


UPDATE: Useful link to a veritable plethora of curated reports and insight from Lisbon, c/o The Measurement Standard newsletter.

Now the curtain has come down on last week’s AMEC European Summit on Measurement, what will change for the world of measuring PR activity?

Pre-summit, PR Media Blog reflected on whether AVEs would go quietly as a trusted form of measurement and, ultimately, how Lisbon would progress both the debate and the practical application of PR measurement.

As reported by Arun Sudhaman on the Holmes Report, the most important priorities for PR measurement as voted by summit delegates, are:

  • How to measure the return on investment (ROI) of public relations (89%)
  • Create and adopt global standards for social media measurement (83%)
  • Measurement of PR campaigns and programmes needs to become an intrinsic part of the PR toolkit (73%)
  • Institute a client education program such that clients insist on measurement of outputs, outcomes and business results from PR programs (61%)

So, for PR practitioners, this means that living up to priorities 1 and 3 is no longer a “nice to have” and, while priority 2 is still a work in progress, the success of priority 4 should mean there will be nowhere for PR people to hide, as clients will know exactly what they need to be asking for in terms of measuring ROI.

Sudhaman’s report also references International Communications Consultancy Organisation president, Richard Houghton’s view that “adoption of standards has been slow because agencies have, traditionally, been unable to define a commercial benefit to investing in measurement”. Could there be any greater commercial benefit than proving, irrefutably, the value of your work to a client?

We asked a delegate of the Lisbon Summit to give an honest view of what had been achieved over the three days.

Sam Knowles, Planning Director of salt PR, said:

“Last year, the Barcelona Principles; this year the Lisbon Legacy. A number of agencies and clients told me how frustrated they were by the fanfare with which the Principles were unveiled at AMEC last year, only to discover they weren’t underpinned by any real solids. This year’s AMEC conference produced those solids in the form of Valid Metrics, a one-approach (but definitely not one-size) fits-all methodology, and set of simple measurement grids.

“Like a good sauce, this template needs further simmering, tasting and reducing before it’s perfected. But in Lisbon I got a real sense – from specialist measurement houses, clients and agencies – that we’re really getting somewhere now on PR measurement. Sure, establishing the contribution or correlation that outputs have on outcomes is still slippery and falls a long way short of causation. But for those who yearn to move beyond just AVE, I’d say you should feel encouraged.

“Only serious gripe? I’d like to have seen more ( UK ) PR agencies present to help shape the debate.”

No doubt, the debate will continue. But, for now, here is the most tangible output from the Lisbon summit – the Valid Metrics approach for PR measurement. In an imperfect world, it’s a bloody good guide for anyone tasked with proving that PR is worth the investment.

Dr. David Rockland, Global Director of Research & Measurement, Ketchum, who ran both the Barcelona Principles and Lisbon Measurement Agenda sessions said: “In Barcelona we created immutable principles about how you evaluate PR. Now, in Lisbon, we have set a course for the future and where this field needs to head in the next several years.”


About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''