What’s it all about?

Trust and Engagement.

As PR and Communication professionals, our goal is to deepen trusted engagement with key audiences, including media, influences, consumers and employees. Long gone are the days of set-it-and-forget-it press releases. Today, we’ve evolved from a push model to a more distributed, conversational approach.  This impacts the functions for both clients as well as PR measurement consultancies that support clients in building robust and insightful measurement programs.

Communications leaders, for small and large organizations alike, are tasked with demonstrating the ROI of communications initiatives in alignment with core business goals. Saying you have 15% more impressions does not indicate a successful message cut-through across key stakeholder groups. The bigger questions are: Did you elevate brand equity and awareness? Did you positively impact brand sentiment this year versus last year? And so on.

The PR / Comms function is also charged with deepening trusted engagement with employees – ensuring they understand and support the company’s values and vision.  A robust analytics approach ensures that you are continually evolving your tactics to optimize organizational impact.  

A View from Inside – John Pluhowski shares how TD Bank changed its approach to communications measurement

I never appreciated the value of a robust measurement dashboard until I didn’t have one. When I joined TD Bank in June 2014, I came with a higher-than-average understanding of the benefits of disciplined measurement.

At eBay Inc., where I served as vice president, corporate communications, for five years, we evolved our practice from a fragmented media measurement system (which no one understood, including those colleagues on our team who presented it), to one that integrated traditional and social media metrics over the “life of a story.”

The improved platform provided actionable insights that enabled us to deepen and broaden the impact of a media cycle through a multi-touch approach, incorporating traditional and new media. We created a virtuous cycle, a flywheel of sorts, that inspired sharing and conversation, shifting from a static monologue to a dynamic dialogue.

Along the way, our data-driven insights persuaded us to experiment with retiring the news release entirely, relying instead on our digital and social channels to tell our stories — a bold move for a global company operating in 130 countries.

Two years later, I’m back at it again, developing a comprehensive measurement platform that provides a real-time, 360-degree view of our communications initiatives – allowing us to evolve our tactics in real-time to achieve business goals.

Funny how quickly the world has changed. Ten years ago, many of us we’re still defining success by column inches. Today, we’re doubling down on sentiment, connections, content distribution and conversation amplification.

Here’s the good news: Our measurement approach enables us to leverage the capabilities of the digital economy, so we can do much more, often with far less.

Building Trust Starts with a Robust Measurement Framework

In September AMEC (International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication’s) spearheaded its third year of Measurement Month. As members, you know that it is a global program of activities focused on highlighting the importance of PR measurement. For anyone reading this who is new to the organization – there were over 60 events this year – webinars, twitter chats, in-person seminars, podcasts, workshops and many more. They were free events and the majority of them were open to anyone in the industry.  

A major focus of measurement month this year was to raise awareness and  support adoption of the newly launched AMEC Integrated Evaluation Framework that was launched at the June 2016 AMEC international conference.   In short it is an easy to use, online tool to help us identify, resist and ultimately do away with “Fluffy PR” and get us to a state of “PR enlightenment.” Read Rich Guttridge, MD of Smoking PR for more around the curse of Fluff!

The goal of AMEC and Measurement Month is to educate PR leaders around key areas for improvement based on effective communications measurement. These sessions from North America are available for your review compliments of Burrelles Luce.  

Ultimately, building trust externally and internally  ends with a robust measurement program. The time is now to make your 2017 measurement resolutions!

Here are our recommendations on the five measurement resolutions you should make for 2017.

Step 1 – Find the money.  Step 1 is all about finding the budget to implement a measurement and evaluation program in your organization. You can start small and grow, but start.

Step 2 – Think holistically. Identify all the various online and offline channels through which you communicate your messages.  In order to build and sustain positive brand sentiment while elevating key initiatives, it’s important to tell the right stories in the right formats to deepen engagement with target stakeholders.  And that requires an innovative metrics platform that measures impact in real time, based on message, channel, stakeholder group and so on. In sum, to succeed in the digital economy, you need real-time analytics that allow you to evolve your communications tactics at the speed of market.

Step 3 – Create a plan for measuring an upcoming initiative. Once you do, you’ll have a blueprint for success. The AMEC Integrated Framework tool is interactive and easy to use. Using it will ensure you set clear goals. This in turn will guarantee a thoughtful discussion that leads to ongoing optimization of ROI in alignment with business goals. This will help the organization appreciate how what you do contributes to business success.

Step 4 – Benchmark, benchmark, benchmark. Commit to understanding what happened in 2016 and use that as a basis to understand where you want to get in 2017 and beyond.

Step 5 – Analytics solutions are rapidly evolving. Encourage your team to stay on top of new trends. You can start by having key members of your team participate in AMEC College to earn their International Certificate in Measurement and Evaluation.

Be bold! Stand up tall in your quest to build trust and limit the amount of vanity metrics in your organization. Continually challenge yourself to measure both traditional and digital channels to get a real-time 360-degree view of your communications efforts. Remember, the goal is not to maximize impressions, but to deepen trusted engagement with target stakeholders across all channels.

The challenge is formidable, but the opportunity is even greater.

IPR Distinguished Lecture and Awards Dinner November 30th 2016