In mid-June, the Second European Summit on Measurement will be held in Barcelona. The Summit is jointly organized by the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) and the Institute for Public Relations. The highlight of the conference will be a debate to “articulate and agree on standard metrics and measurement techniques…” according to a press release issued last week.
David Rockland, head of research for Ketchum, will lead the session. Mr. Rockland has a lofty vision and high hopes for the debate, “We regard this as the industry’s ‘Commitment Conference’. This is a very powerful moment in time in the history of public relations. Until now, public relations has been undervalued due to its inability to measure itself. The goal of this summit is to establish consistency in order to increase credibility.”
The three-day conference is expected to be attended by about 150 people, including many measurement thought leaders. It should be interesting to see what comes out of this event. Will it serve as a wake-up call to the industry? Time will tell. I’ll post some thoughts once the summit concludes.
Keeping it real…and transparent
- I am a member of the Institute for Public Relations, Commission on Public Relations Measurement & Evaluation
- My agency, Fleishman Hillard, has agreed to join AMEC (pending paperwork)
- Ketchum is a sister Omnicom agency
In my last post, we discussed that one aspect of having a ‘seat at the table’ is that the public relations function needs to be more accountable for results. While accountability may take several forms, at the most basic level it is about being responsible for ones actions and outcomes, i.e. did you/your organization do what you said you would do? So how can we operationalize this concept in public relations?
We believe there are three fundamental opportunities for accountability across the public relations programming lifecycle:
- Quantify Opportunity/Problem – At the time of assignment, the PR team applies a little Left Brain thinking and quantifies the magnitude of the problem or opportunity that PR will address. This was discussed in a previous post.
- Solution Quantification – Once the programming is developed, but before it is approved and implemented, we should quantify the anticipated results for the program. This step answers the question, “If we accept this proposal/plan, what results or value might we reasonably expect?” It also sets up the third step…
- Quantify Results – The third stage of the framework occurs post-implementation and is the traditional measurement and evaluation phase.
The essence of accountability occurs when we compare the results we “promised” in stage 2 to the actual results measured in stage 3. The real kicker here is stage 2, which we may call ‘Solution Quantification’. PR professionals have long been reluctant to predict in any specific way how much coverage, for example, will occur as a result of a given program or campaign. You may have heard this reluctance expressed as ‘PR is an art, not a science’. Regardless of the merits of this argument, we cannot use it as an excuse not to be accountable. Accountability is not easy. It is essential however if the PR function is to maximize its potential impact on the organization. –Don B