Over recent weeks PR measurement and evaluation has formed something of a backbone to Smoking Gun’s agency blog. This is for good reason, as we will explain in this post, and makes sense given we are an award winning, standard-setting firm when it comes to measuring and evaluating.
Don’t believe us? In March we wrote guides on How to measure PR ROI, and How to drive leads and sales using PR measurement metrics. Both are worth a read, even if we do say so ourselves.
So we understand how to gather data and, perhaps even more importantly, how to use that data to boost revenue. But up until now it might not be clear exactly why this is all so important, aside from the whole ‘bringing in more customers’ bit.
“Today everything absolutely has to be rooted in measurement and strategy,” Michael Schneider, Vice President of Public Relations at ADP is quoted as saying in an article on PRNews.
“If your strategy is rooted in your overall business objectives, and you have a really disciplined approach to PR measurement, and you can show how you’re helping to move the needle, you’re really impacting outcomes and you’re driving the business strategy. That is really what people are looking at in terms of is the budget well spent or not spent, or how it might need to be adjusted.”
All sound advice, the wider article focusses on how importantly the C-suite (i.e. executives) view PR on the whole in 2018. And the resounding response is ‘very important’.
So some of the most powerful decision makers in the world have never seen public relations as more valuable than they do right now, and this is because we live in an era of solid, tangible PR measurement and evaluation. What has previously been considered a soft art has transformed into a far more precise (although rarely, if ever, exact) science, and this has made people stand up and take notice.
They are seeing results. Those results are guiding future campaigns. You need to be doing the same.
That’s impossible without top of the line PR measurement and evaluation, though. By failing to follow the necessary steps it takes to get a truly comprehensive understanding of public relations impact across all channels any results you do have will be irrelevant and inaccurate. You cannot strategise without first grasping the problem that needs solving, with strategy an operative word.
“The C-suite today very much sees communications as a strategic businesses partner,” Catherine Herenandez-Blades, Chief Brand and Communications Officer at Aflac, is quoted as saying in the same article on PRNews. They understand the importance of reputation, and see it as a very strategic function, much more so than it had ever been before.”
She then goes on to explain just how signifiant reputation is:
“We do a survey every year of investors, both institutional and private, and the first year we did it—two years ago—only 60% of investors said they would actually not invest in a company that had a bad reputation. This year that number has jumped to 80%. So it really means dollars, and that’s why it’s so important.”
We are constantly writing and advising on reputation management matters, and so fully agree with Herenandez-Blades’ thoughts on things. Again, our ability to gauge and define brand reputation is aided with strong, effective PR measurement and evaluation. Logically, then, it is impeded, if not completely prevented, by a lack of quality PR measurement and equation.
Hopefully you get the point by now— in 2018 you’re nothing without data, and in 2018 data is nothing without an approach to analysis which is actually fit for purpose. Underestimating the importance of robust PR measurement and evaluation methods is, in effect, going to render any campaign a waste of time and money.