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Aug 21 Posted 6 months ago
Hi Lyndon, We have the answer to the question and always have. PR is a top-of-the-funnel activity (most of the time) with a goal of driving awareness. Therefore, the way to measure it is by tracking awareness. Simple! Of course, there are exceptions and I've seen PR programs that directly drive sales. But being able to measure that type of result can be difficult and usually costly.
You are absolutely right that PR is not just media relations. But think of other PR activities, such as influencer programs to health professionals (just as an example). The goal here is to build awareness with this community and encourage endorsements. So there are other metrics we can use beyond awareness but it's still part of the mix.
Certainly PR is, in part, about buildling relationships. But we build those relationships to help our clients achieve their business goals. So measuring relationships is just another output, not a business outcome.
Aug 21 Posted 6 months ago
This discussion has been going on for at least the last twenty years - for as long as I've been working in and around the industry and it is something we need to find an answer to. The problem is that I think the majority of the industry is trying to measure the wrong thing.
What if, rather than measuring coverage, or awareness, or the ideal communications effort, we measure the strength of relationships? We do it every day in our personal lives so why not in our professional ones?
Isn't measuring the perfect effort is like saying we get a medal in a sports competition because we tried our best. Or like saying we should win because our running 'form' was technically excellent - Michael Johnson proved that this just isn't the case!
Public relations is about building and maintaining relationships, after all, so why not measure this in order to evaluate succcess or failure. It will also give an indication of whether people will do what we want [the marketing piece] - measuring marketing on the same KBI scale would reward best effort, not outcomes from what I understand of what you're saying.
Fundamentelly, we can only address this properly by understanding what it is we are supposed to be delivering. Media coverage and awareness is publicity, not public relations - and until we fix this the industry will continue to measure the wrong thing.