This is a guest post from my research & measurement colleague at GCI, Wilson Tan
Public Relations is not the only industry in search of the holy grail of ROI. This past Saturday’s Weekend Journal (The Story That Stats Don’t Tell, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114504083095226278.html?mod=todays_us_pursuits - subscription required) profiled the NBA’s search for their breakthrough statistic.Statistics happy MLB has fallen in love with VORP (Value Over Replacement Player). It measures how much a hitter or pitcher contributes compared with a fictitious replacement player with average skills. Here are two metrics in play with the NBA:
Plus-minus Rating: How many more or fewer points than the opponent a team scores when that player is in the game
Player Efficiency Rating: Measures a player's per-minute productivity using both positive contributions (like assists) and negative ones (like missed shots)
The NBA also has some of the same challenges as Public Relations in understanding intangible value. Sonics CEO Wally Walker says the team's fortunes this year (poor compared to last year) show that statistics are hardly a panacea. "Our chemistry isn't nearly as good this year as it was last year," he says. "It's hard to hang a number on that."
If the NBA, in an enclosed arena of 94” by 50”, has a struggle defining a breakthrough statistic, no wonder we in PR struggle with the much bigger arena of the real world.
- Wilson Tan