There are lots of ways to measure brand value. For marketers it’s a very important metric, which is why they often end up spending large amounts of money trying to measure it. It occurred to me yesterday that, while not perfect, eBay provides a very good way to measure the value of a brand. This thought sprang from the fact that the Blackberry Playbook is already being sold at a discount on eBay. For a product that has only just been launched this speaks volumes for the current state of the Blackberry brand. Indeed eBay can give you a very accurate read on consumer sentiment towards the ‘value’ of a brand through this kind of price analysis. eBay can go further though. The site gives you a clear sense of the popularity of a product both by the volume of products being sold and by the number of bids on each product. Lastly it gives you a measure for the reliability of a brand. Search on digital cameras and you will find a host of ‘broken’ items. If you were to tally the number of broken items as a percentage of those for sale by brand you would a) demonstrate what a sad geek you were and b) get a read on how reliable that product was. I’m sure people with more brainpower and time than I have could come up with a host of other eBay metrics that would help derive the value of brands. At the very least though, I would highly recommend that marketers scour eBay to get a sense of the competition and of the community around their or their clients’ products.
Economists seem to agree that by and large the major economies of the world are no longer in recession. But it’s clear that while some industries are back to growth, others are still mired in there very own recession. So, is the PR industry one of the growth industries or is it still in recession? The answer is potentially ‘yes’ to both of these questions. I’d argue that the PR industry has emerged from the recession as a different business. It’s had to.
Pre recession, the PR industry was drifting towards digital and in particular social media/networks. The recession accelerated PR down that path in ways that will change the industry forever. Put another way the deliverables that clients rightly expect post recession are different. Very different. Post recession clients expect to understand communities and the conversations taking place in those communities. They also want to take part in these conversations, or at the very least influence them. They may also want to create their own communities. This is real ‘public relations’ and it’s a huge opportunity for the industry. Yet some agencies still view the world the old way. They view PR as a process that drivcs headlines and creates events. They think that a blog entry is effectively another headline. In other words they are not measuring communities and conversations, they are measuring the volume a client can talk at. These agencies are going to have to adapt and fast, or their recession will last a long time. A very long time.
The agencies that are embracing a new way of measuring success are coming out of this recession with a great opportunity. They are speaking the new language of marketing and delivering services to match. They are not confined by what media or events exist. Instead they create and influence communities and the conversations that are taking place using the best available tools. Truth is the agencies that are on this path don’t really think of themselves as PR agencies anymore and they certainly don’t fear agencies that still deliver ‘old style PR.’ This is because the approaches they are taking require skills from a wider range of disciplines. It’s also because they don’t measure success like they used to.
So, if you want to know if your agency is still in recession, ask yourself how you define success for a client. The answer to that will tell you a lot about your prospects for the next few years.
The popularity of YouTube is undeniable. This promoted me to see if it could be used to rank major brands. While highly unscientific in some ways and slightly unreliable in others, I used the search engine in YouTube to see which major brands got the most clips when you search by their name.
The results were:
Brand Number of clips
Disney 224,000 <— I guess they ought to have a lot of content!
Google 97,000 <— they own YouTube…
Coca Cola 34,400
Now this research took about 5 minutes and as you can probably tell was based on a list of brand names I pulled form an old Fortune article plus a few names I threw in. It wouldn’t be hard to do some more detailed research using the YouTube site and search engine to get a sense of how many clips are appearing each day by brand etc. As it stands I can’t find a way of seeing which brand has the most number of clips associated other than by trial and error. Perhaps YouTube could issue a press release with that data?
Anyway, for those people looking to help big brands with their marketing, it seems YouTube provides a pretty simple way to score companies. There are of course some difficulties and these relate largely to the way the search engines work. For example if you put in ‘Ford’ as a search topic you will get a lot of clips that have nothing to do with Ford Motor Company showing up. Conversely if you put in Ford Motor Company it will only list those clips where people took the trouble to tag the clip with the full name. So YouTube is far from perfect but once again we do at least have another quick and cost effective measurement tool available.
Just for fun I also checked to see what the numbers were like for the bigger PR firms. The results were:
Text 100 312
Hill & Knowlton 18
Weber Shandwick 4
Fleishman Hillard 2
As you can see, the PR agencies have some way to go to catch the big brands….
If you want to know whether Tony Blair has been in the news as much as George Bush, or Apple Computer versus WalMart then Google Trends can give you a pretty quick answer. For many PR execs wanting to know if their client is making as much noise as its rivals this tool will be very helpful – assuming their client is big enough to make a decent amount of noise. I recently saw this tool used to express a client’s ‘noise level’ versus other big companies and while it doesn’t allow you to dig very deep it is nevertheless useful. Right now most searches simply track the volume of searches for each item but for some the results also show News Reference Volume. For example, search Google versus YouTube and you will see what I mean. I can only assume that in time Google will make this technology more powerful and useful, much as they have with Google Maps. Watch out media measurement businesses, Google has come to town…
Oh and if you search on PR versus advertising, it looks like PR is slowly catching the old dog.