The PR Professional s Definitive Guide to Measurement

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1 The PR Professional s Definitive Guide to Measurement 1

2 Table of contents About this Guide 3 Chapter 1 - Measurement s rapid rise to acceptance. But are you on board? 4 Chapter 2 - Proving The Value of PR: Why Measurement Is Important 6 Chapter 3 - Getting started! Your measurement options and how we created a global system in our consultancy 9 Chapter 4 - A Step-By-Step Approach to PR Measurement 12 Chapter 5 - Measuring PR performance across borders how a global programme works Chapter 6 - What s the big deal about the Barcelona Principles and where do we go from here? Chapter 7 - You can measure social media 26 Chapter 8 - Insights Critical for Effective PR but Must Go Beyond the Bleeding Obvious 30 Chapter 9 - The client view of what measurement looks like 34 Chapter 10 - Measurement: Encouraging realistic client expectations 37 Chapter 11 - Getting it right: a ten point evaluation checklist 42 Chapter 12 - What we mean! Definitions and terms 44 Top Measurement Tips 55 Like To Know More? 61 2

3 About This Guide Our aim is to encourage more PR professionals, working in consultancy and inhouse, to regard PR measurement as an everyday part of what they do. AMEC is the fast-growing global trade body and professional institute for agencies and practitioners who provide media evaluation and communication research. amecorg.com PRCA is the professional body that represents UK PR consultancies, in-house communications teams, PR freelancers and individuals. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations. prca.org.uk ICCO is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in 28 countries across the globe. iccopr.com 3

4 Chapter 1 Measurement s rapid rise to acceptance - But are you on board? Francis Ingham & Jeremy Thompson As recently as three years ago, this Guide would have attracted only marginal interest. Not now. The development of the Barcelona Principles was transformational in the way it challenged PR practitioners and evaluation specialists alike to look at the role of measurement in a new, different and relevant way. Measurement, at its simplest level, helps PR professionals to prove the value of their work. ICCO and PRCA are delighted to join together with AMEC in producing this PR Practitioner s Guide to Measurement. We have published this online so that it is easy to access wherever you are and on whatever type of screen you are using - laptop, Smartphone or tablet. Our aim is to remind practitioners that measurement is not an option: that it is a strategic discipline for the public relations industry. It is a new initiative at the heart of ICCO and PRCA s work with AMEC to educate PR practitioners as to why it is important to have a measurement framework in their in-house team or consultancy. We have deliberately involved measurement companies, their clients, in-house PR teams and consultancies in the production of this Guide. Contibutors come from Europe, North America, Australia and South Africa. The Guide has a truly global reach. This is only the start. We plan to update and refresh the Guide at six monthly intervals and we welcome feedback on this first version and what you would like to see included in the first update. Together, we will show how PR measurement is helping to improve performance and promote the industry. 4

5 Francis Ingham & Jeremy Thompson's Top 3 Measurement Tips Measurement is the best way to demonstrate the value of your work - use it; Be clear about your goals, measure objectively; Don't obsess about a number, focus on demonstrating the link between activities and outcomes. Francis Ingham Director General of ICCO & Chief Executive of Jeremy Thompson Chief Executive, Gorkana Group 5

6 Chapter 2 Proving The Value of PR: Why Measurement Is Important David Gallagher Confession: when it comes to measurement and public relations, I am among the recently converted. Not because I didn t believe there were ways to measure the outcomes of our efforts (I did) or because I thought advertising-value equivalencies were sufficient (I did not) or because I was not aware of the considerable work and scholarship that had been devoted to the topic by friends and colleagues like Dr David Rockland (believe me, I was made keenly aware). No, my doubts stirred from a conviction that clients simply did not care. If they did, they d gladly pay for it. They would spend enough money up front to establish a baseline before PR activity began, and enough money at the end to determine whether the overall effort was worth it. And in my experience, which spans more than two decades and more countries than I care to count, clients did not spend money to measure PR at any point of the activity. They spent on lots of other things celebrities and football sponsorships and risk-management consultants and a host of other essentials but rarely, if ever, PR measurement. And then that all changed. Well, maybe it didn t all change, but enough clients started to ask about measurement and, in a few cases, even base their agency selection largely on who presented the best approach to evaluation, to make me question my assumptions. Not exactly a Damascene moment, but enough of a wake-up call for me to begin to see measurement as a competitive differentiator for our businesses in Europe and beyond, and later as a necessity for all of us in PR. 6

7 So what happened? Looking back, we seemed to have gone through a classic push-pull pincer of external forces economic uncertainty, an explosion of accessible data and a proliferation of advertising-weakening content platforms and internal developments global consensus on measurement approaches like the Barcelona Principles, increasing sophistication of PR services and a serious commitment to proving everything by marketleading clients (including our own, Procter & Gamble). In any case, we now find ourselves in a competitive environment that requires what we at Ketchum are calling a prove everything or die mind-set. Creative ideas and strategic insight must be rooted in data. The impact of our work must be measured not in output, but actual outcomes. And the value of our service must be expressible in the precise terminology of business, not the vagaries of PR. Is it working? The early evidence percentage of pitches won, the value of assignments awarded, client retention and satisfaction data, and awards earned all point to yes. Well, bully for us, you may well say. Our clients still aren t paying for measurement, and our way of working is more like an art than science, and what about the downside of evaluation, when the numbers don t prove a positive outcome? Why should we change a good thing? To which I would reply: carry on as you are, but at your own peril. Yes, you may not need to change to continue to compete, at least for a while. Yes, you may evade procurement teams looking for evidence-based return-on-investment expenditures. And yes, you may well be able to persuade savvy marketers that your ideas stand on their brilliance alone, without need of substantiation. But by burying your head in the sand you ll also miss the enormous opportunity measurement presents. All too often, the real value of our work is vastly under-counted. The effect of our advice, service and content is under-represented in year-end reviews. And opportunities to assess the impact of PR activity versus other expenditures go underrecognized as outdated advertising equivalencies or impression counts persist. Accurate measurement is an important step toward establishing the real and usually under-estimated value of public relations. And here s the kicker. While at Ketchum we see a commitment to measurement as a fundamental competitive advantage over those who do not, we fully embrace a future in which all of our fiercest competitors share this belief. Why? Because the real power of what we all do can only be unleashed when we re all speaking with conviction the same language about it and that language is measurement. 7

8 David Gallagher's Top 3 Measurement Tips The age of measuring outcomes in PR is well and truly upon us. Avoid measurement at your own peril and with significant opportunity costs. A commitment to measurement is as much an industry issue as a differentiator for individual competitors. David Gallagher Senior Partner and CEO, Ketchum Europe & President, 8

9 Chapter 3 Getting started! Your measurement options and how we created a global system in our consultancy. Andy West Measurement was the real bugbear of the public relations sector for a long time. While other disciplines were able to attach concrete ROI figures on the work they were producing for clients, PR was playing around with AVE and other supposed signals of how good your media relations were. The method was flawed from the start: it was comparing apples and pears. There were many in the industry who voiced a concern over the old way, but there was still no new methodology that we could all apply. During the mid-2000s, something began to change. The media landscape looked different and there was a growing importance of social in PR campaigns. At first, people began to say that social was hard or impossible to measure, but this soon proved to be incorrect. In fact, the prominence of social helped re-evaluate all forms of PR measurement. Enter AMEC and the Barcelona Principles. The industry needed a universal methodology that turned its back on AVE, and this was it. This was the tipping point in the quest to find an authentic and credible measurement framework for the industry. The need for measurement in PR has been there for a long time. Yet as the world has suffered in economic turmoil, more prominence has been paid to budgeting in corporations large and small across the world. The value of everything has been under scrutiny and so now, more than ever the important of attributing a proper value on PR is essential. PR is not about column inches, it like anything else is about making money. 9

10 When AMEC released the Valid Metrics Framework, Hotwire started looking at how this would align to our existing methodology and thinking something that we have always valued even before this framework came along. While the changes were not hugely drastic, the tweaks we implemented helped align our approach to measurement with this new industry standard. The framework brings credibility and it presents the opportunity to harness thinking across the industry into a force for change across the agency. AMEC s Framework acts as a brilliant springboard for adoption within different agencies and is created with adaptation in mind. The primary focus of the Framework to put business outcome at the forefront and focus of any PR work is something that can be integrated into any type of PR work, and is something that we adapted quickly. At every stage of the process, from taking the brief through to management, measurement should be involved. But how to bring this alive through our business? Being a global agency, we carefully considered how we would roll out measurement across the international offices for all of our consultants. After many in-depth conversations on the topic between different team members, a white paper was drawn up based on the AMEC Framework. This white paper was released internally, with training and then catch-up sessions used to help inform staff of the changes. The framework was introduced across all levels of the agency from new joiners through to senior management because it needs to be something your team lives and breathes. International training was rolled out with video and audio conference around our 11 global offices, and then subsequently with the affiliate network. At the same time, we had been road-testing the Framework in some client work. With the account leads selling in measurement to the client, and then leading teams with the new way of thinking in mind, uptake was quick. It was through the early examples of implementing the measurement approach that made international adoption easier. Following the internal launch, Hotwire released its adaptation of the white paper publicly. With an event and digital white paper, we brought in speakers to reinforce the importance of measurement within the PR industry and also to offer examples from our own experience. Now, AMEC s Framework is part of all the work that we do. PR has been looking for a solid approach to measurement for a long time and there is no doubt that this goes a long way to meeting that requirement. As an industry we have to adapt our approach speak to the language of the CMO and not just the PR Manager. Having measurable business outcomes lying at the heart of communication strategy is an important first step in embedding the philosophy of true measurement into PR. 10

11 Continued education at all levels will be required to steer clients away from legacy attitudes in areas such as AVEs but then equally, agencies must play their part in continuing to develop and innovate in all areas of measurement. Together, the PR industry can and will become fully accountable for its actions and for the investment business makes in it. And as an agency, we have taken the first small steps to becoming part of this shift. Hotwire s Top 3 Measurement Tips Do the groundwork and engage people at all levels across the agency in the development of the approach before launching internally. Identify suitable clients with which to roll out the approach, using the success of the deployment to facilitate sell in to other clients across the network. Don t assume universal success immediately; it takes time and sometimes baby steps are needed Andy West Group Chief Development Officer, hotwirepr.com 11

12 Chapter 4 A Step-By-Step Approach to PR Measurement Giselle Bodie Public relations professionals today must measure their work if they hope to be taken seriously. Measurement has never been more productive and innovative. With the increasing prominence given to measurement through industry associations, academics and analysis vendors, it is easier to stay tuned to important media channels, keep tabs on competitors and anticipate unwelcome surprises than ever before. But to maximize the value and benefits of a measurement program, it s critical to set goals and identify key stakeholders for the data. How do you get the process started without spending a fortune or risking repercussions from an unsuccessful program? The tips below are a step-by-step routemap to get you going in the right direction! FIRST: CLARIFY YOUR ORGANISATIONAL GOALS An organisational goal is a broad idea of what you would like to achieve, stated in clear, simple terms. Typically, these over-arching goals cluster around the following: 12

13 Increase revenue and/or lower costs Increase customer engagement and satisfaction Strengthen brand preference and loyalty Enhance reputation SECOND: DETERMINE KEY STAKEHOLDERS AND PRIORITISE Who are your key stakeholders internally and externally, and which are most important to reaching your goals? Practical budgeting considerations may make it impossible to address them all, so start prioritising through some smart initial research: Talk with key internal stakeholders to see what would spell success in communications Discover where your most important stakeholders are involved in the social and digital space Listen to what they are saying through online and offline surveys and media content analysis THIRD: SET SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES FOR PRIORITISED STAKEHOLDER GROUPS At the conclusion of this research, meet again with key internal managers to help decide which goals and stakeholders will take priority for the PR and/or social media measurement. Then, set specific objectives for each goal that specify: 13

14 1. An action statement 2. A timeline 3. A target audience 4. A measurement outcome (usually expressed as a % change). For example, if a business goal is to sell more homes, an objective might be to increase the number of home tours among first-time buyers aged by 50% in the following year. Simply focusing efforts in this way will increase your likelihood of success and enable you to modify the objective as you gain history and move forward. FOURTH: SET "KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS" AGAINST EACH OBJECTIVE Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable (numeric) measures that enable you to show progress over time for each objective. For example, if your objective is to get first-time buyers into your show homes, some KPIs might be: 1. An increase in the number of visitors who sign-up for your homebuilder newsletter 2. The ratio of posts to comments on your homebuilder website 3. The increase in home builder profile pages downloaded and attendees to an open house events FIFTH: CHOOSE TOOLS AND BENCHMARK At this point, you ll need to decide who to measure against. Is it just your own organisation over time or would it be important to measure performance against competitors? 14

15 Choosing appropriate tools and metrics for measurement is vital to the success of the programme - e.g. the AMEC Valid Metrics Framework would enable you to identify the tools and metrics needed to measure your campaign in terms of: Public Relations Activity what did you DO? For example, how much content did you create? How many journalist briefings? White papers? YouTube videos? Twitter posts? Intermediary Effects how did the media and key influencers (third parties) RESPOND to your activities across the Communications Phases - Awareness, Knowledge, Interest and Support? Are they communicating the right messages, in a positive manner and in a greater volume than competitive messages? Have they endorsed or recommended? You can measure this level by charting progress in both: Owned Media sites - websites, Facebook and Twitter pages, for example. Non-owned sites or earned media - everything else Target Audience Effects finally, what ACTION was taken by your target audience? Actions can be hard or soft, ranging from leads or sales increases and efficiency savings to brand awareness, customer loyalty and customer satisfaction improvements. Techniques might include: Surveys Correlations and Market Mix Models Web Analytics Comparing Earned, Owned, Shared and Paid Channels SIXTH: ANALYSE THE RESULTS AND COMPARE TO COSTS Data by itself does not equal intelligence. It must be analysed and interpreted to generate actionable insights and recommendations for strategy and planning. It should also provide a means to compare programme costs against identified results. Return on Investment is a very ill understood term, and some claim that it cannot be accurately calculated for non-financial programs. However, cost-efficiency metrics such as cost-per-targeted impression, cost-per-lead or cost-per-unique visitor can be useful. If you DO want to calculate ROI, you should use a true financial formula expressed as a percentage or ratio, as follows: 15

16 SEVENTH: PRESENTING TO THE CEO AND SENIOR MANAGEMENT A dashboard or scorecard with headlines, bullets and metrics that show performance trends can be highly compelling to the C-suite. Survey results, correlations to outcomes, or solid tracking data from web analytics, will all resonate strongly with a CEO and senior management. EIGHTH: MEASURE CONTINUOUSLY AND IMPROVE PERFORMANCE Stay vigilant by keeping your programme growing and robust. Giselle Bodie's Top 3 Measurement Tips Always start with asking yourself what you want your evaluation to achieve (sounds pretty basic, but you d be amazed how many organisations forget this vital step). Be realistic on budget, on timing, on scope. You tend to get what you pay for Invest time up front with your evaluation provider time invested now in defining expectations, scope, budget etc will pay dividends down the line. 16

17 Giselle Bodie Chief Executive, Salience Insight 17

18 Chapter 5 Measuring PR performance across borders how a global programme works. By ICCO members Laura Skelley & Michael Ziviani (PRIA) When working with global or regional clients, it is very rare that yours will be the country setting the guidelines for measurement and evaluation (M&E) of PR's success. Usually the M&E framework will be developed in another country and you will be asked to comply with the established regime. While the system of measurement may be determined outside of your boarders, PR agencies in all countries should provide input to ensure that best practice M&E is being employed. This is a draft model PRIA will be evolving in the coming months in line with international standards. There are five key elements that make up best practice measurement and are relevant regardless of the country in which the PR is conducted. 1. ALL PR programs should be measured and evaluated. Measurement & Evaluation boosts the credibility of PR and helps improve performance of future campaigns 2. In order to measure and evaluate PR, it is essential that SPECIFIC, MEASUREABLE OBJECTIVES are set in ADVANCE of the start of the program 3. These measures must be both TRANSPARENT and REPLICABLE both across programs and across regions and countries. Examples include quantity, quality and reach 18

19 4. Communications creates business value in several steps: Activity, Output, Outcome, and Business ROI. Depending on the sophistication of the programs and countries in which the activities are being executed will determine which segments you choose to measure. As long as all countries are MEASURING THE SAME ROI the evaluation program will add value 5. Communications can and should be MEASURED ACROSS ALL DISCIPLINES PR, Social, Events etc. The more complete the picture the more valuable the insight. There is no silver bullet, one size fits all way to successfully measure PR performance across borders, but there are key guidelines that help ensure consistent measurement regardless of country. The first step in developing a robust international measurement framework is to determine what you will be measuring and ensure that this is constant across all countries. Currently, the most common form of measurement is to measure program outputs. Be it volume of coverage, tone and favorability or size and reach, measuring outputs is the most basic way to ensure you are conducting a like for like measurement of program success, regardless of what country you are reviewing. It is important that each country select a similar number and type of media to track, and utilize the same measurement criteria to rank tone & favorability. What can be seen as a positive story in Australia may be seen as a negative story in China or the UK. A sentiment calibration standard is an important step towards consistent and replicable results. Regardless of the outputs you decide to measure, Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs) should never be included. AVEs have been widely discredited in most countries and regardless of where the M&E program is designed, all countries should ensure they push back if asked to include these measurements. There is an option to go deeper into content analysis to provide greater insights into PR's impact. The ability of countries to report on deeper content analysis will vary based on skill level, resources and program sophistication. All countries should be able to measure the delivery of key messages, spokesperson impact, depth of discussion around key topics and competitor analysis/share of voice. In order to gain insight across borders, it is again important to ensure that each country is measuring the same things the same competitors, key messages etc. If one country is focused on competitor A while another country is focused on competitor B the insights across countries will be skewed. Therefore, in order to get an edge when measuring the success of your PR across multiple countries it is important to: 1. Work to a model to keep each country on track and give structure to their reporting. It is important to ensure that this model is customised for your content and resources. For example, if you are working with countries of vastly different levels of experience and resources, ensure that your model is developed so it can be utilised by the least practised country. Where possible, allow subtleties to be considered, rated and captured. 19

20 2. Allow for actions from insights. A solid rationale coupled with good analysis creates a firm base for action. Analysis alone will not create value, it simply provides advice to help re-shape strategies to better effect. The action taken from those new strategies is where the value should build from. Often in regional or global measurement, the analysis is not filtered back to the countries in order for them to utilise the insights gained. Ensue you are feeding this valuable insight back to the countries where you are measuring to allow them to take action and refine their programs. 3. Resource properly. A robust measurement and evaluation program takes resources both time and budget. Provide each country with the time and budget to properly gather and collate the information and measure against your model. Universal adoption of a consistent measurement and evaluation methodology is the key. The term universal suggests a standardised approach. To an extent this is now possible with emerging International agreement on the core measures of volume, tone and reach. Measuring the success across boarders becomes practical once a model is developed with a clear, transparent and replicable method. Ensure your focus is on consistent measurement criteria, robust evaluation and analysis which seeks to provide actionable insights. Whilst your country may not be setting the approach you should seek out the opportunity to input/be proactive and confident in providing input as this will return benefit in the long run. Laura and Michael s 3 Top Measurement Tips Set specific and measurable objectives in advance Communications creates business value in several steps: Activity, Output, Outcome, Business ROI Valid measures of communications results are transparent and replicable metrics of: Quantity, Quality, Size. Laura Skelley Group Managing Director, Max Australia and Spectrum Communications 20

21 Michael Ziviani CEO, Precise Value 21

22 Chapter 6 What s the big deal about the Barcelona Principles and where do we go from here? David Rockland What s the Big Deal About the Barcelona Principles? Was there an earthquake in Barcelona in June 2010? Well, if you live in the small world of PR measurement, yes. At the second annual European Summit of PR measurement, representatives of around 150 companies from over 30 countries voted on seven specific principles that finally set a baseline for how to measure PR what s good, what s better, what s best, and what s bad. The Barcelona Principles say some pretty obvious things set goals before you do a PR program, media measurement needs quantity and quality, measuring target audience change and business results are better than measuring media results, social and traditional media can be measured with the same basic ideas, and transparency is critical. And the principle that probably has most PR practitioners excited is that the use of Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs) was abolished as a legitimate approach. 22

23 For most of the fifty of so years PR has been around as a defined marketing and communications practice, measurement was basically around number of clips, number of impressions and AVEs. The latter placed the value of PR as the cost of purchasing the equivalent amount of advertising space. Often, PR practitioners would then multiply that cost by anywhere from 2 to 7 claiming that earned media was that much more valuable than paid media. What was wrong with this picture? Clips and impressions alone are meaningless what if all the clips say that the particular product is terrible, or that the company is run by criminals? Quality has to be a consideration as does whether or not the articles are reaching the right audience. If you are selling lipstick, an article in a hunting magazine probably has little value to you. Or, at the least the guys I go deer hunting with here in the States don t seem to wear much lipstick that I know of. It may seem silly to say set goals first, but often PR practitioners have done some exciting program that has little to actually do with the driving the business of the client or organization. You may have had a great party with lots of celebrities, but if it didn t drive sales, it was just a good party. As for AVEs, why would the cost of advertising be equal to the value of PR? The cost of advertising isn t equal to the value of advertising. And, if the articles are negative, why would they be given a positive value. In advertising, you get to say what you want, where you want, and when you want. With PR, you are subject to the vagaries of the editorial process sometimes you win, and sometimes you don t. On the other hand, it is often much less expensive than a multi-million dollar ad buy, and with an editorial endorsement can have a much larger impact on sales. And, is earned media always more valuable than advertising? While I would like this to be true since I work for a firm that produces earned media for clients, the reality is that such multipliers have been proven over and over to not exist generally. So, the PR measurement world is maturing. One reason this has come about is that getting data around press coverage is way cheaper than it has ever been. When I went to work at Ketchum, we had lots of people clipping articles by hand, pasting them in a book, and delivering that book as proof of value at the end of the quarter or year. Now, with digital aggregators, getting the coverage is simple and relatively much less expensive. And, with social media, you can get lots of data very quickly. 23

24 Part of that maturation is also a shift from counting earned media, to counting what is much more important target audience change and business results. Now, you can add a few questions to a brand or advertising tracking survey and know if PR is creating awareness, favorability, purchase and recommendation. And, with earned media data now much easier and cheaper to get, you can add it into market mix and other statistical models to show the effects of earned media on sales and brand equity. In other words, you can do with PR what has been done for advertising, direct mail and other marketing channels for a long time. The playing field has been levelled. Part of that levelling is also the understanding of how different channels affect one another. When we do market mix modelling for clients, what we often find is that each channel not only has its own effects on sales, but also tends to affect the other channels. In other words, advertising and PR, for example, benefit one another. One plus one becomes three. Is the maturation of PR measurement complete? No, far from it. But, the Barcelona Principles started the process. From it is emerging a set of measurement standards for PR practitioners that really bring the Principles into daily practice. And, we will increasingly see certification programs in PR measurement that define what a PR professional needs to know before he/she can really call themselves a PR professional. Who s driving this? Well, certainly, AMEC and ICCO have got the ball rolling and are continuing to make progress. However, what is also heartening to see it lots of others have jumped on board and adopted the Barcelona Principles including large corporations such as FedEx and Philips, and PR member organizations around the world. Many companies like my own have been leading this charge with our clients and the associations we belong to. We see that our business is really driven by the edict prove everything or die. If we don t switch from silly metrics such as AVEs to sales and ROI measurement, we will no longer be relevant to our clients. The Barcelona Principles established the floor of PR measurement. It will be up to the PR practitioner of the future to define how high the ceiling can be. 24

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