Evaluating PR evaluation: some others do AVE ‘em
The PRCA is no exception, having just laid out its strategic plans for 2012, which most notably includes the formation of three action groups to tackle ‘areas of concern’ in the public relations industry. It identifies these areas as:
• Ethics within PR – with a particular focus on educating and supporting junior executives
• Evaluation – highlighting effective alternatives to AVEs (Advertising Value Equivalents) and looking at helping non-PR professionals understand how to evaluate PR
• Profitable partnerships – providing practical advice on how to ensure effective and mutually beneficial relationships between clients and agencies
Quite right too. There’s no doubt that these are all areas very much on our radar here at Aspectus PR. For us, point two has always been a top priority. I suspect none of us got into communications because we were particularly excited about how we’d measure and report it. But PR is frankly much more valuable to the client when you don’t spend half your time trying to prove the value of what you’re doing – so long as you know you’re investing effort in the right areas for them.
Clearly, the old methods of evaluation – and AVE might now be considered as the most notorious, but certainly not the only one in the line up – have fundamental limitations. At Aspectus, we’ve always preferred a more pragmatic, flexible and client-focused approach: Let the client tell you what they want to measure – from securing particular types of coverage in specific publications, through assessing stakeholder opinions through pre and post campaign research, to Google analytics.
The critical thing is to make sure that whatever it is you’re measuring, you have the right tools to do it. That’s why we developed TwentyTwenty™, our proprietary reporting and measurement system with built-in flexibility to fit our clients’ needs – whatever they might be.
You can design all the fancy measurement metrics you like, but if you’re not measuring what’s important to the client, you’re not demonstrating the value of your work. And that’s never a situation you want to find yourself in.