Recently I attended PR News’ Measurement Conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Common threads throughout the day were adhering to the Barcelona Principles, especially measuring PR results against business objectives. As a measurement specialist and committed member of Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communications (AMEC) and the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) Measurement Commission, it is rewarding to know that these foundational themes are now widely recognized and discussed.
Keynote speaker and author of “The Reputation Economy,” Michael Fertik, offered reality check sound bites in his presentation themed reputation is bigger than brand. For example, the 1-9-90 rule – 1% of internet users create the content, 9% share the content and 90% just consume the content. Or, the fact that it is now cheaper to store data than to delete it. These data highlight the potential for reputation risk and as Fertik reminded us, right or wrong the data found online about an organization is used to make decisions.
As part of the proceedings, I was one of four new members inducted into the PR Measurement Hall of Fame, an honor given the company with whom I have the privilege to stand. As part of the program, each inductee was asked to provide one piece of measurement advice for PR practitioners seeking to prove the business value of their work. Fellow inductees focused on research and education, telling the PR story through metrics and the generous sharing of knowledge among measurement professionals which has underpinned thought leadership in the field.
My advice centered on my favored, enduring theme – get it right from the start. Don’t wait until the campaign is over or December arrives to think about measurement. By then the conversation will be about woulda, coulda and shoulda. Planning for measurement needs to be done upfront in tandem with all the other elements of a communications program, otherwise three things will happen:
As a newly inducted “hall of famer,” there are no laurels on which to rest. The conference conversations, packed room and diverse group of attendees, affirmed that PR measurement continues to evolve and the need for measurement standards and tools is greater than ever. Being a “hall of famer” means rededicating ourselves to demonstrating the value of PR and continuing the efforts in research and education. As a new inductee, I remain committed to being part of that process.