Stir believes PR can – and should – be measured. We see it as a given that every activation (be it one month long or twelve), should be evaluated for a number of reasons, of which here are three. Measurement is necessary:
To determine to what extent a campaign has been a success (however that success may have been defined at the outset);
To learn more about our target audience (engagement patterns, need states etc.), which in turn can be applied moving forwards; and,
To understand what impact the activity has had on the brand or business, for example: from either a commercial or reputational perspective.
We believe that if we were to conduct a Family Fortunes-esque survey of 100 brand managers across the UK, one of the top five complaints about the PR industry would be its inability to measure effectively. Demonstrating return on investment might not have been high on Agencies’ agendas historically (a huge sweeping statement in itself), but there has certainly been a positive shift in the last five years, and Stir is there, amongst a number of well-established names, leading the charge.
The international association for the measurement and evaluation of communication – also known as AMEC – provides much needed gravitas to the subject. It promotes the importance of measurement as we enter an era where influencing through PR is steaming ahead of telling through advertising. (It was interesting that Toby Harrison, Planning Partner at adam&eve DDB, told attendees at an annual PR conference last month, that he could not think of “another time when we’ve been more scared of another discipline than we are of PR.”)
When AMEC Measurement Month kicked off at the start of September, we were quick to sign up to its packed calendar of talks, webinars and thought leadership sessions happening across London and the world. Barcelona 2.0 dominated the conversation – a brand new set of measurement guidelines that generated over 900 tweets following its launch on the 3rd September.
The new guidelines follow on from the original Barcelona Principles, launched in July 2010. Developed by AMEC in conjunction with ICCO, the Institute for Public Relations, PRCA, PRSA and The Global Alliance, the seven Barcelona Principles refuted using advertising value equivalents (AVEs) and false multipliers – common practices that equate the value of PR with the cost of advertising. In addition, they stressed the need for an outcome, as opposed to an output, based measurement of PR campaigns.
Fast forward five years and a revised set of principles have now been unveiled, known as Barcelona 2.0. Designed to meet the ‘emergence of integrated communications’ and be applied to ‘media and paid, earned, owned and shared channels’, revisions include the need to use qualitative and quantitative methods of measurement in tandem with one another. Importantly, the updated principles also reassert that AVEs do not measure the value of PR or communication and proudly announced that even the British Cabinet has moved away from this archaic tool.
A speech by Jeremy Thompson, CEO of Gorkana Group and Chairman of AMEC, during the AMEC Measurement Month closing party, revealed how the new guidelines will also bring a new AMEC measurement framework, due for launch in the not too distant future. This will not only explain how to put Barcelona 2.0 into practice, it will dispel any criticisms that it is too similar to the original.
Barcelona 2.0 and AMEC Measurement Month reinforced the fact that effective measurement should be part and parcel of every campaign, no matter how big or small. After all, quality measurement not only justifies investment in PR, it gives insight into what should come next for your brand.
To find out how we can effectively use the Barcelona 2.0 principles to best suit your measurement needs, please contact Alicia Mellish on 0207 749 2637, or email Alicia.M@stirpublicrelations.com.