AMEC APAC Chapter fireside chat

Welcome to the first AMEC APAC Chapter fireside chat for 2019.

As the AMEC community prepares for the international summit and the annual AMEC Awards, we gathered a number of key members from the Asia Pacific chapter for a discussion on the biggest trends in the measurement and evaluation industry as well as what they are looking forward to in Prague.

Today we are joined by AMEC member companies and industry associates from across key Asia Pacific markets. Joining us for our discussion today is:

  • Aseem Sood, CEO Impact Measurement, AMEC Board Member, Co-Chair AMEC APAC Chapter, @aseemsood 
  • Deb Camden, The Communication Dividend, @debcamden
  • Distinguished Professor Jim Macnamara, PhD, FAMI, CPM, FAMEC, FPRIA, University of Technology Sydney, @jimmacnamara 
  • Khali Sakkas, Chief Insights Officer, Isentia, AMEC Board Member, Co-Chair AMEC APAC Chapter, @khalic
  • Lee Nugent, Regional Director, Text 100, Chairman of PRCA SEA, @prca_sea
  • Sally Chadwick, Manager Insights and Analysis, Mediaverse, @aapmediaverse

Let’s kick off with a hard one. Tell us about your favourite city in the APAC region? Why do you love it?

Lee: A really hard question. There are so many places to love in this region. I’m lucky that I get to work across nine locations, and each is vibrant and fantastic. 
From Delhi to Sydney, Beijing to Bangalore, all are equally favourite. But I’m based in Singapore and live here with my family – so if you force me to pick one, I will say Singapore. Why? The diversity I see here, which makes it a wonderful place to live, and what Singapore and its people have achieved in just a few decades is utterly remarkable. 
Khali: I absolutely love Hong Kong. I adore the food and the dramatic cityscape. The city has a momentum that is really hard to beat, I find it gives me a lot of energy.
Sally: Melbourne of course! Ok, we’re a bit biased because that’s where Mediaverse is based, but Melbourne is Australia’s fastest growing city for a reason! It is truly a great city to live in and visit. And it has the best coffee.

Speaking of beautiful cities… Deb, you attended your first AMEC Summit last year in Barcelona. Can you tell us what your highlight was?

Deb: In attending my first summit in Barcelona, I felt I had found my tribe! Members were incredibly welcoming and warm, as well as being approachable – despite representing global powerhouses in measurement and evaluation.
Aseem: It was great to have you join the tribe Deb! The opportunity the summit offers, by bringing together experts from different parts of the world, is unmatched. I was very excited to participate in the workshop on launch of The Measurement Maturity Mapper (M3). M3 was floated as an idea in one of the internal AMEC meetings several months ago. Ben Levine, Paul Hender and Colin Wheeler took the charge of developing and testing the idea. They were very kind to invite me to also participate in the creation of the tool. They had already done most of the work and wanted to test the model with someone outside Europe. When they presented the concept and tool to me, I was so excited and we had several discussions in Barcelona on how to run our workshop. It really
helped as our workshop went very well. Now the tool is ready and has been launched officially on Workshop video is available at The Measurement Maturity Mapper (M3) tool is a great example of the magic created by the AMEC summit.
Sally: I agree! AMEC membership provides a unique opportunity to connect with industry leaders from around the world. We’re often so focused on our own context and our own market but the AMEC events including measurement month and the annual summit offer an excellent forum to network and learn from practitioners from around the world.

Looking ahead to the 2019 AMEC Summit in Prague – What topics would you like to see covered by our global industry leaders?

Sally: Reputation and reputation management is a big issue facing major organisations and institutions in Australia right now. I would like to see the 2019 AMEC Summit discuss the key role measurement can play in helping communicators monitor, understand and manage reputational risks. An extension of that conversation would also be crisis management and how measurement and evaluation can inform communications strategy.  
Aseem: Every time someone uses the M3 tool it asks the user for permission to use the responses for industry benchmarking. It does so with complete confidentiality and no one at AMEC or otherwise, has access to the company level responses. I wish that we have lots of benchmarking data before 2019 AMEC summit and that we have a session where we get to see the industry trends based on region/ industry/size/ type of company etc. The M3 tool will help corporates as well as measurement companies take measurement discussion to the next level.
Khali: I’m keen to hear more on automation and AI is impacting our industry. I’m keen to hear case studies on how businesses have utilised machine learning in measurement and evaluation. It’s a really exciting time to discuss the impact technology can have on our methodologies and capabilities.

What do you see as the biggest opportunity for measurement and evaluation right now?

Deb: Our opportunity and indeed our mission as communicators needs to continue to be clearly and cleverly sharing the whole story of the value we create; to “connect the dots” between what we do and the value we deliver, linking to organisational purpose. Measurement and evaluation is key to achieving this connection through increasingly sophisticated methods. In the end, we are the connectors and measurement and evaluation are our essential tools. 
Lee: Technology is making more and more possible, and as our part of the market becomes ever-more integrated with other disciplines, tech is enabling us to better understand the impact of what we do. And as more brands adopt the AMEC framework as the basis of their own evaluation methodology, I think we are getting closer to a more standardised approach that can be understood by a wider group of stakeholders. There’s a long way to go, but these small steps are getting more frequent. 
Jim: The biggest opportunity for the measurement and evaluation sector in PR and communication management is to engage with the industries and sectors that have already developed advanced evaluation practices, instead of going it alone, ignoring existing knowledge, and reinventing the wheel. Evaluation principles, frameworks, models and methods have been extensively outlined, first in international development and aid programs in the early 1970s, and then in public administration and education in the 1980s and 1990s. Many of these principles, frameworks, models and methods have since been carried into performance measurement within performance management and, very close to home, in health communication and promotion, which has become quite sophisticated.
Furthermore, as well as engaging with other sectors and fields that use advanced evaluation, the PR and communication management sector needs to get past media monitoring and basic media metrics that tell only half the story and engage with the bevy or research companies and institutes that specialise in evaluating audience awareness, attitudes, and behaviour, including causation (i.e. what caused these) through attribution modelling, market mix modelling and other methods.
Practitioners claim to be in the ‘real world’. But sitting as a desk looking at media coverage or online looking at posts and counts of clicks is not the real world. It’s what people are saying – an intermediate world. And sometimes it is bots that are saying it. Researchers are out in the real world asking questions and listening to people to learn what they feel, think, and what they are likely to do with what they read, see and hear. Do they believe it? Are they changing their mind or planning to do something because of the information received? That’s where you have to be to know if communication is having any outcome or impact. A whole world of social research, market research and academic research is out there ‘in the field’ doing that.

How can we seize these opportunities Jim?

Jim: Collaborating; partnering; mergers and acquisitions with research companies doing surveys, interviewing, focus groups, ethnography, action research, deliberative polling, appreciative inquiry and public consultation; expanding your own agency’s research capability; working with academic researchers; broadening the membership of AMEC and the IPR Measurement Commission beyond media and PR professionals – myriad opportunities await.

Thank you all so much for your time and expertise today. We hope to see you all in Prague in May for the 2019 AMEC Summit.
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