Mea­sur­ing the value of PR

ArabAd - - COVER STORY -

How do you mea­sure the ef­fec­tive­ness of PR and what value is it to an or­gan­i­sa­tion? Ques­tions that are in­creas­ingly rel­e­vant to an in­dus­try strug­gling to achieve con­sen­sus

For all the talk of PR’S im­por­tance and its claims of mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions supremacy, mea­sur­ing its ef­fec­tive­ness is a bone of con­tention.

David Michael­son and Donald Stacks, au­thors of A Prac­ti­tioner’s Guide to Public Re­la­tions Re­search, Mea­sure­ment and Eval­u­a­tion, once stated that “public re­la­tions prac­ti­tion­ers have con­sis­tently failed to achieve con­sen­sus on what the ba­sic eval­u­a­tive measures are or how to con­duct the un­der­ly­ing re­search for eval­u­at­ing and mea­sur­ing public re­la­tions per­for­mance”.

With the scope of public re­la­tions now greatly en­larged, it has be­come dif­fi­cult to eval­u­ate out­come and its value to an or­gan­i­sa­tion, and also to achieve in­dus­try­wide con­sen­sus on any form of stan­dard­ised mea­sure­ment. Views, likes, fol­low­ers, com­ments, fans, click­throughs and down­loads have com­pli­cated what used to be a rel­a­tively straight­for­ward case of mea­sur­ing tra­di­tional me­dia re­la­tions.

“As a core ob­jec­tive of public re­la­tions, we aim to al­ter, re­in­force, or main­tain a cer­tain per­cep­tion at­trib­uted to a brand through the dif­fer­ent uses of PR tools,” says Jo Che­mali, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for the Le­vant at MSL Group Mid­dle East. “The tricky part is when the time comes to mea­sure whether or not that per­cep­tion has truly been af­fected.”

“The fact that most PR ac­ti­va­tions and cam­paigns are mi­grat­ing to­ward the dig­i­tal sphere be­cause of its very high ef­fi­ciency and cost ef­fec­tive­ness, mon­i­tor­ing and mea­sur­ing per­cep­tion is now lim­ited to so­cial me­dia and online plat­forms,” he adds. “This is great, as public engagement is rather quan­ti­fied and not scat­tered around dif­fer­ent plat­forms. Mea­sure­ment can now be more in­tri­cately as­sessed and cal­cu­lated.

“How­ever, even though the dig­i­tal sphere has helped clear out some blurred lines when it comes to mea­sur­ing per­cep­tion, the main is­sue here still re­volves around the ac­cu­racy of the for­mu­lae that we use, and whether or not all PR agen­cies use the same meth­ods of mea­sure­ment. Uni­fy­ing meth­ods of mea­sure­ment will help PR agen­cies cre­ate pre­cise bench­marks to bet­ter eval­u­ate their work in a uni­ver­sal man­ner.”

Che­mali be­lieves a board of PR au­thor­i­ties should be formed to com­mis­sion the us­age of a set of for­mu­lae to prop­erly mea­sure off­line and online PR per­ceived val­ues. Yet this is prob­a­bly a long way off. Jim Mac­na­mara, a pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy in Syd­ney, has pre­vi­ously stated that agen­cies should in­vest at least 10 per cent of their bud­get in mea­sure­ment. Yet hardly any do this in the re­gion. “PR mea­sure­ment is not a stan­dard­ised prac­tice and the in­dus­try is in a fluid state at the mo­ment due to the changes that we are see­ing – pri­mar­ily as a re­sult of the fourth in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion,” says Che­mali. “Hav­ing said that, PR agen­cies are cre­at­ing their own tools to en­sure mea­sure­ment and re­sults-driven cam­paigns.

“Where the dis­con­nect hap­pens… is that there is a lack of method, pro­ce­dure, clas­si­fi­ca­tion and stan­dards in the in­dus­try, and many agen­cies rely on third party sup­pli­ers for eval­u­a­tion of work. What we need to do is en­sure tax­on­omy within our own shops first and cre­ate best prac­tice case stud­ies in or­der to drive in­dus­try-wide adop­tion, and to stan­dard­ise the prac­tice. How­ever, we have to en­sure that cus­tomer re­quire­ments are top of mind, and that the mea­sure­ment in place is cre­ated to serve their in­ter­ests first.”

“Uni­fy­ing meth­ods of mea­sure­ment will help PR agen­cies cre­ate pre­cise bench­marks to bet­ter eval­u­ate their work in a uni­ver­sal man­ner.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Bahrain

© PressReader. All rights reserved.