7 out 10 People say they want measurement

I’ve been digging around for articles on measurement in PR as I still believe it is an area that needs greater attention. In so doing I came across a paper by Chris Cartwright, MD of Harvard in the UK who carried out a survey on the subject. The paper is pretty good and certainly worth a quick read, though I should warn you it’s even drier than this blog. The one thing that really caught my eye was the opening statement: “While 7 out of 10 PR practitioners agree that PR evaluation is an important part of their role…” I had to read this several times because I was stunned. What this says is that 30% or nearly one in three DON’T think measurement is important. Again I’m truly amazed by this. I can understand some people may not want to be measured because they’re not doing a good job but to check a survey box that that says you don’t think it is important perhaps explains why measurement is still so low on the agenda. I’d love the various PR institutions to take this subject on. I’d love the major brands to make it a top priority. But it would seem that until the three people out of every ten that don’t see measurement as important are persuaded to think again then not much will happen.

Here’s the link to Chris’s article: http://www.chime.plc.uk/downloads/PR-Evaluation-Survey-Chris-Cartwright-Harvard-Nov07.pdf

4 Comments on “7 out 10 People say they want measurement”

  1. chris cartwright says:

    Thanks Tim for the reference – and apologies for the dryness!! While I agree it’s shocking that 30% of those surveyed did not think evaluation is important, I do think it’s because this was interpreted as ‘measuring press clippings’ and many PR managers have a finite budget and choose to spend it all on execution rather than measurement. What shocked me more (or did it shock me?) from our findings was something that I think is fundamentally undermining PR’s place at the top table. Reputation is one of the most important assets for any organisation, brand or individual. We, PR professionals one and all, are supposed to be custodians of reputation and yet when questioned as to how they measure effeciveness of PR, most companies in our survey focused on either clippings count or qualitative measurement of messages in the media. Very, very few focused on managing reputation as a whole – in other words, positive penetration of messages to all stakeholders. So whereas in the advertising world, it is considered commonplace to benchmark customer opinion before a campaign, and after one, and it is considered normal to try and influence a ‘behaviour’, the PR concept of evaluating success is much too tied up in media relations success. Surely PR, especially multi-stakeholder, multi-channel PR should focus more and more on behavioural change, as well as media coverage?

  2. Meghan Beattie says:

    I agree, Chris, with your comment on the importance of behavioural change but it is my experience that studying and focusing on behavioural change is exactly what your client EXPECTS is happening underneath the surface. The results of media relations success comes from the initial focus on behavioural change in the market and how we as PR professionals choose to be proactive instead of reactive to those changes.

  3. Tim Dyson, CEO of Next Fifteen says:

    Frankly I’d be glad to hear that the problem was they way people were measuring their PR. Sadly it seems we have a much bigger problem than that. That said I would be curious to know who the missing 30% are. Are thye big companes? Are they in certain sectors? I certainly think a breakdown of the missing 30% would be very enlightening.

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