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PR measurement is great, but look past the numbers

PR measurement

PR measurement

This month Smoking Gun has plenty to celebrate— as our latest roundup of in-house news goes to show. Over in Prague, our team was invited to attend the AMEC Awards, celebrating the best in analytical comms. We won. Twice.

Back in Manchester, the Prolific North Awards also honoured us with a new trophy. We’re immensely proud of these accomplishments, none of which would be possible without exceptional evaluation.

Using hard, data-driven evidence allows us to provide clear proof of our impact on behalf of clients.

Cast your mind back to 2009. Credit was crunching, Labour’s government collapsing, and Facebook users getting their first taste of the Like button. Meanwhile, Smoking Gun was punching above its weight.

Rejecting the Advertising Value Equivalent system of PR measurement, we set out to champion a more robust and practical method of gauging performance. This remains a cornerstone of everything we do. But it’s not everything we do.

PR and marketing in 2019 are at risk of forgetting the fundamentals that made these sectors vital in the first place. Numbers and statistical information can be incredibly useful. PR measurement is crucial. But without experience, creativity, confidence, guts and calculated risks, brands will never make people take notice.

We live in a world that often feels fearful of ‘what if?’

But this is the most important question we can ask in the creative industries.

There may be reams of evidence to show a particular solution is likely to work. Yet that doesn’t mean there aren’t previously-untapped options that could re-write the rulebook, or tear it up completely.

The age-old adage is that a blank page is the writer’s worst enemy. As most good writers will tell you, though, it’s actually the greatest opportunity for excellence.

In less than three weeks time, the greatest minds in creative marketing and communications will descend on the south of France. The five-day Cannes Lions festival showcases benchmark-setters from across the world.

They always share one thing in common regardless of campaign details. I struggle to think of any recent winners that haven’t shown the power of taking calculated risks. Basing ideas on historic evidence, but combining those with out-of-the-box innovation.

The public is tired of old hack, worn out by repetition and ready to walk out the door unless you give them a real reason to stay.

So let’s use PR measurement, but not stop there. Let’s be bold and daring, let’s stop shows and traffic. Because the alternatives are destined for failure.


Get in touch today if this sounds like your kind of thinking.

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