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PR: Measure for measure


No one said it would be easy. Not only are there many and varied approaches in evaluation standards, the media and channels of communication that require assessment have multiplied exponentially in recent years. The explosive growth in social media, consumer generated content, social networking and blogging has dramatically increased number of communication platforms with provide both opportunity and threat. PR is moving into a new era where single influencers and key opinion leaders can have a large impact on the overall success of programmes.

Suddenly, for a B2B campaign, it is not only a circumscribed group of trade titles that need to be taken into account, but a plethora of dynamic and continually changing blogs and social networking sites which are very powerful communication channels and can impact a B2B issue as dramatically as a consumer brand.

So how can PR's support of business objectives be measured and evaluated? All the acronyms have their roots in a particular research methodology. The measurement of media coverage or ‘outputs' is core to most. Approaches range from the quantitative to the highly qualitative, and the quantitative methodologies can be either very manual (analysts reading and scoring individual articles) or highly automated (sophisticated database search and analysis).  Truthfully, all have their place depending on the specific objectives of the analysis at hand. Evaluating the subtleties of competitive positioning might be best accomplished by focusing in closely on a small sample of media. Deciding whether or not to invest millions in that positioning might require a review of a larger sample of media, a task best aided by technology.