Want to demonstrate the worth of PR to a management board? 12th February 2020/in AMEC Member Article, News Ben Levine /by Julie WilkinsonTalk objectives first and measures second Ben Levine, Director & Partner, True Global Intelligence, London It may come as a surprise, at least to some, that we are still having debates within the PR industry about if and how to measure our discipline. While having debates on the topic of measurement are generally good – especially if it’s about the best way to improve the practice – I must admit that it is troubling that too much of the discourse hasn’t moved on far enough since the adoption of the Barcelona Principles in 2010. I believe the crux of this conundrum lies in the fact that we, as an industry, are too often trying to prove and directly attribute our work to one single measure: sales. Don’t get me wrong. Understanding how PR and communications impacts a client or company’s bottom line is a good thing to focus on. But I would argue that if we ignore the rest of the steps in the journey (including what happens after a purchase is captured), we are selling our discipline short of the value it brings and missing out on a bounty of data, information and learnings that can be used to plan better campaigns and deliver greater long-term impact. So, how is an aspiring PR professional to show the board what PR and communications is worth? Start with the fundamentals of measurement and evaluation— aligning communications with the business, setting goals that can be measured (both incrementally and longterm), and developing a system that feeds into reporting structures that already exist within the organisation, where possible. Here’s how we applied these fundamentals to a client’s business to transform evaluation for their public relations team. In 2017, we had just been named the agency of record in Europe for a global consumer electronics company. Our new client was in a tough situation. They had no centralised measurement system and approach in place to track PR performance, let alone see how that work integrated with marketing activity generally. As such, our client had more than 20 countries all reporting and sharing PR performance in any manner they chose. There was no consistency and no way for our client to report back to their European business partners on the function’s performance and impact. So, what did we do? First, we invested time in taking our client through best-in-class approaches to measurement and showed them how we could apply them to their situation. Second, our client connected us with their market intelligence and reporting team so we could fully understand how the wider business measured performance (e.g. perception, sales, advocacy). Third, we developed a PR measurement framework that aligned to, and spoke the language of, their existing performance reporting structure. That enabled us to take our client on a journey of finding the right PR and communication data partner that could meet our requirements of scale and performance measures. The results for our client was the implementation of a centralised PR measurement and reporting system that provided a consistent monitor and measure of PR activity across more than 20 European markets. In addition, that system gave our client enhanced metrics for PR (such as SEO rank, social sharing, and coverage website attribution) so that the European PR team could better show its business partners target audience interest, action and intent. Further to this, we deliver monthly reports that provide context beyond the metrics, and provide insight on brand performance (via the tracking of brand attributes that align with European tracking systems), and how they are reaching and engaging new audiences (via lifestyle and consumer media). The system was so well received by the business that it now feeds directly into our client’s integrated marketing dashboard where, for the first time, PR data is seen and analysed with other market inputs (including social media, brand tracking, and sales). This has shifted perception of the function, showing business partners it’s serious about impact and helped better integrate PR into cross functional campaigns and activations. So, the next time you need to have a conversation about PR’s impact, before rushing straight to how we attribute to a final purchase, first take a step back and have a conversation about what the business is trying to achieve and PR’s role in achieving it. If you can answer those questions, you’re on the right track to demonstrating value to the board, both in the short and long-term. https://fhflondon.co.uk/ https://amecorg.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Ben-Levine-Headshot-scaled.jpg 2560 2560 Julie Wilkinson https://amecorg.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Large-amec-logo-master-1024x232.png Julie Wilkinson2020-02-12 10:17:522020-02-12 11:45:26Want to demonstrate the worth of PR to a management board?