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Why PR without intelligent measurement is ‘Fluffy PR’


There are four essential qualities required to deliver ‘Intelligent Measurement’ in effective communications:

  1. You need to create an Intelligent Dashboard. Doing this provides greater accuracy through cross referencing within your framework that measures your primary Key Performance Indicators.
  2. You need to create a narrative within your measurement – your evaluation needs to tell a story, of where you have come from, how you are doing compared to your neighbours, and where you are going.
  3. Your evaluation needs to inspire!
    *It must be transcendent – to connect you to a bigger picture
    *It must be evocative – to touch you and other people in some way
    * It must be motivational – to create a live map to steer and guide your next step
  4. Iterate?Iterate! Iterate> The journey of a thousand miles consists of iterated steps. You need to listen and learn every step of the way.

Measurement and evaluation has been the Cinderella of public relations practice; it’s always there, usually listed at the end in public relations programmes, yet the reality has been more of practitioners paying lip service, a paper posture, than something contributing worthwhile, of real world significance.
In a digital age successful public relations practice has to have intelligent measurement at its core.
Other communications disciplines such as Advertising and Digital Marketing are seizing new opportunities in data analysis, measurement and evaluation. If the public relations profession fails to get in on the act, it will be left behind, like Cinderella, not going to the ball.
In our work at Smoking Gun PR it celebrates what it calls ‘Ingenious PR’ – the product of Ingenious Creativity but crucially, working integrally with ‘Intelligent Measurement’.
Smoking Gun PR identified a ‘monster’ it needed to overcome – what it calls ‘Fluffy PR’.
‘Fluffy PR’ is similar to pornography – you can recognise it when you see it, but defining it is more challenging. Equally, it can be responsible for obscene waste of resources, opportunities, and talent.
Perhaps ‘Fluffy PR’ is best described through a rather crude story once told to one of the Smoking Gun team who once worked for Eric, a car dealer in Bradford, West Yorkshire. He shared his view that “PR was like a corporate wetsuit.??? When asked to explain, he elaborated in his forthright manner: “You pee in it and gives you a nice warm feeling.???
Too much of Public Relations activity falls into the category of generating a self-serving warm glow, very much like what Eric described as a ‘corporate wet suit’; it may feel good at the time, but what is the real impact and lasting legacy? Fluffy PR is the nice warm feeling, for the sake of a nice warm feeling. It characterises too much of what constitutes ‘public relations practice’.
Public relations practitioners who want to make a real difference eschew ‘Fluffy PR’. Instead, they prefer PR and creative ideas that are the product of hard work based on real insights and knowledge – that can be measured.
We need to create an intelligent framework for measurement and evaluation. Thanks to breakthroughs in neuroscience and psychology, we now live in an age of greater understanding on how people think and act.
Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel prize winning psychologist, identified 5 key heuristics, or what Smoking Gun call ‘Brand Heuristics’ to measure communication impact. People say ‘Yes’ if you hit these 5 buttons, if you are:

Others are talking about you
Use these Brand Heuristics to define your framework and identify measures to gauge where you are at, and your progress in each of the heuristics. Success in these dimensions enables you to deliver real world results in your communications.
For too long disciplines like advertising, at the expense of public relations, has made out they were measuring when most of the time it was just data about their outputs
Intelligent Measurement offers a new way ahead for public relations practice. It required a new mindset, reframing what it means ‘to do evaluation and measurement’.
By creating a framework around the key Brand Heuristics of being known, liked, trusted, front-of-mind and others talking about you, while also creating a narrative through your measurement, that uses evaluation to inspire real world differences, can we create Intelligent Measurement.
Public Relations without intelligent measurement is ‘Fluffy PR’ – and who wants to do ‘Fluffy PR’?

Looking for more advice on PR, social media, and marketing? Why not get in contact or submit a brief to inject a little ingeniousness into your brand.

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