Tag Archives: PR Research

The Barcelona Principles: Leaders Speak

23 Jun

Well, the Second European Summit on Measurement held last week in Barcelona has come and gone, but its impact may be felt for some time to come.  The Summit was organized by the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) and the Institute for Public Relations.  The most notable outcome of the Summit was the creation of the ‘Barcelona Declaration of Research Principles’.  The Principles were debated and voted upon by about 200 delegates representing 33 countries and five global PR and measurement organizations (AMEC, IPR, PRSA, ICCO, The Global Alliance).  David Rockland, Ph.D. chaired the debate.

Here are the ‘Barcelona Declaration of Research Principles':

1. Goal setting and measurement are fundamental aspects of any PR programs.
2. Media measurement requires quantity and quality – cuttings in themselves are not enough.
3. Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs) do not measure the value of PR and do not inform future activity.
4. Social media can and should be measured.
5. Measuring outcomes is preferred to measuring media results.
6. Business results can and should be measured where possible.
7. Transparency and Replicability are paramount to sound measurement.


I asked three of the leaders of the conference to comment on four questions regarding the Summit and what it may mean for the future of measurement.  The leaders are:

Barry Leggetter, FPRCA, FCIRR is Executive Director of AMEC  (barryleggetter@amecorg.com)

Pauline Draper-Watts, is Chairperson of the Institute for Public Relations, Commission for Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation  (pauline.s.draper@gmail.com)

David Rockland, PhD, is Partner/CEO, Ketchum Pleon Change and Managing Director, Global Research (David.Rockland@ketchum.com)

Here are their thoughts on the Summit:

Q1. For those not able to attend the Summit, how would you briefly describe what they missed?

BL: A milestone moment when delegates from 33 countries agreed to take program measurement more seriously, starting with the abandonment of AVE’s

DR: Missed a great opportunity to network with colleagues from 33 countries, hear some engaging speakers, and be part of a moment in time where the industry first adopted a set of measurement principles.

Q2. From your perspective, what are the two or three most significant outcomes of the Second European Summit on Measurement?

BL:

  • For AMEC to be successful in getting five global organisations on the same platform for the first time and talk from the same page about the need for the PR and media intelligence industry to act – not just talk – about improved methods of program measurement.
  • That the Summit achieved its own break-through status in receiving speaker support from senior level clients from global organisations such as FedEx Corporation, Yahoo, Royal Philips Electronics, Nissan, Telefónica, Banco Santander and others.

PD-W: The percentages (voting) in favor for each of the Barcelona Principles following the discussion

DR: To me a significant outcome was a gathering of the industry in a manner where ideas were shared, friendships and partnership extended, and we agreed as an industry to look ahead to how we can do what we do better and professionalize the practice of public relations.

Q3. How do you hope agencies, companies and organizations operationalize the seven principles?

BL: I introduced quality management processes when a Director of Porter Novelli in the UK in the 90’s – the first agency in the world to make this commitment. It became part of our agency’s way of working. I hope agencies, companies and organisations will similarly make the same commitment to the Barcelona Principles and introduce more stretching methods of program measurement on all programs.

PD-W: Integrating them into the culture and corporate language within the organization so that they are lived out in practice.

DR: My hope would be that first the principles are widely talked about and become SOP for what we do. Second, that the term AVE disappears along with the incredibly counter-productive debate around this subject that has distracted the industry from its own development. And third, that each organization adapts the Principles into their own words and practices; when we see them translated into the languages of the 33 countries represented at the Summit, we’ll know it worked.

Q4. Please complete this sentence: A year from now, we will know the Second European Summit on Measurement was successful …….

BL: …if when I judge my next PR Awards schemes PR consultancies and company in-house PR teams are putting more effort into the Program Measurement heading on the award entry as they are now doing to demonstrating creativity!

PD-W: … the Barcelona principles (modified to reflect the comments made at the Summit and submitted afterwards) are not only adopted but also put into practice throughout the industry.

DR: …if we don’t hear PR practitioners continue to complain we don’t have a “seat at the table” because we lack the metrics and measurement approaches other disciplines have.

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, is a member of AMEC
  • Ketchum is a sister Omnicom agency

Integrated Approaches to Social Media & PR Measurement Will Yield More Actionable Insights

21 Apr

With more public relations programming occurring online than ever before, the measurement world seems increasingly seduced by readily available and increasingly sophisticated web analytics.  Indeed, with respect to social media in particular, it seems the majority of thought leadership in measurement today is being driven by web analytics gurus and not measurement gurus (there are a few exceptions of course).  No real problem here since web analytics add real value in understanding online behavior.  They do a good job of understanding the what, the who and the where.  And the cost is often quite low to obtain the data.

A concern with a singular emphasis on web analytics is they do not provide any real insights into the whys driving the behavior.  What are people thinking when they interact with our content?  Are we influencing the way they perceive the brand or company?  What are the reasons they buy or not buy a product?   These insights not only help us better measure our results, they help inform the development of better and more effective future programming.

I don’t see this as an either/or proposition.  The best answer is both.  And add in content analysis too as a diagnostic tool.  A holistic, integrated social media/PR measurement approach that utilizes web analytics, content analysis and primary audience research adds measurement richness and provides valuable formative insights.  All research/measurement is good.  More is better.  Holistic is best.

With Primary Research Secondary, PR ROI Efforts Will Remain Elusive

8 Dec

A couple of months ago I was in a meeting with a client and their digital media agency.  The guy from the digital agency made an offhand comment I thought was interesting and hits on a key issue in public relations research and measurement.  He said he had always considered the number of posts a proxy for awareness, and the number of comments a proxy for engagement.  It struck me this notion of measurement by proxy is actually the norm rather than the exception.  Often, PR outputs are used to assess campaign performance rather than trying to determine whether or not the campaign actually touched and moved the targets in the ways we intended.  The continued industry reliance on the use of advertising value equivalents (AVEs) is perhaps the most common misuse of the measurement by proxy notion.  AVEs are an attempt to determine ROI by proxy.

We need more measurement by fact, not by proxy.  We need to move beyond just measuring what the PR result is (a hit, an OTS, a delivered message) to measuring what the PR result actually accomplished – did we reach the intended targets; did they engage with the content; did we cause them to rethink existing perceptions; did we change their attitudes; did we increase the likelihood they would consider the brand?  In order to move toward measurement by fact, a much greater emphasis on primary audience research is necessary.  As an industry, we would be well-served by a higher commitment to primary research.   Research allows us to shift the conversation from measurement by implication (i.e. x% of the coverage contained a key message therefore the campaign was a success) to measurement by fact (e.g. 10% of the target audience saw the PR campaign and 15% of these individuals plan to purchase the product in the next six months).  Rather than using content links or the comments/posts ratio as a proxy for brand engagement, wouldn’t it be better to do primary research designed to measure how engaged and attached online consumers actually are to the brand and why?  Importantly, efforts to determine the ROI of public relations are greatly enabled by primary research.  The better we actually understand whether or not PR has influenced the consumer and what actions, if any, they take as a result, the better we can assess the true ROI of a campaign.

There are three inhibitors to the expanded use of primary research in public relations measurement – education, lack of vendor focus, and perceived high costs.  Many PR practitioners lack the education and training to feel confident they know where and when to use primary research in their measurement efforts.  From a research vendor perspective, there are research silos of media content analysis firms and primary research firms.  While many firms offer both, their focus usually is in one area or the other.  And very few firms are actively attempting to use quantitative research together with content analysis to more holistically measure public relations.  (Echo Research is one company doing work in this area and I am sure there are a few others.)  Yes, primary research is generally more expensive than content analysis.  However I have seen content analysis systems costs in excess of $500K per year – you can do a lot of primary research for a fraction of that.  In 2009 if the PR industry spends about the same amount on primary research as we do in media measurement, we’ll be making great progress toward measurement by fact.

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