A whole new universe beyond AVE

For a communications professional, conversations around measurement are like a daily cup of coffee. We love it, are often crazy about it and behave like born connoisseurs. Also, sometimes we wanna try different variants – decaf, black, with soy milk, Nitro – but prefer our customised version, eventually. AVE is the same, probably not with so many variations, but definitely a happy meal that never satiates the foodie.

What’s with coffee & food in a topic around AVE? Just setting context of how convoluted this whole topic has become. For anyone who doesn’t know about AVE – which rock have you been living under? Trust me, you don’t need me to define the same, atleast in this column.

The objective is to address whatever little confusion exists around this topic and probably share a resolution, I am attempting professionally.

First, the debate continues around the multiplier, whether x3 or x5? Which means the evolving ad-rate card should be part of your life too. Of course, then we layer it with the PESO model, and deduct otherwise paid-for pieces. Amidst this, add queries about readership, circulation, and the profile of that end reader.

Personally, using AVE in the first line of an activity report, seems like opening the Pandora’s box and dealing with issues that have absolutely no relevance to your hardwork. It infact has an opposite affect – devalues your campaign and the achieved outcome.

Hopefully, it’s clear that the problem statement is in our court – why do we begin our success stories with the AVE number? In the day and age of data analytics and message-focused visibility, aren’t we equipped to discuss the business impact created? I’m sure none of us are lazy, but maybe not equipped to experiment.

So, let’s start with babysteps, that is if you are not already doing this. It’s a practical approach that I’m educating my stakeholders about.

Outcome / Output / desirable achievements for any media engagement or external target audience campaign, should have specified ‘messaging’ milestones. The focus needs to be on the quality of the stories and the content, instead of ‘the number of stories’ achieved, for that particular campaign (yes change this, today).

Immensely important is to define the local / regional market that you intend to showcase impact in. Basic? Been using for decades now? Yet, somehow each and every end stakeholder comes back asking for that front page feature in the leading English business newspaper. Why? Because we didn’t educate them that going hyperlocal with news is the next big thing. Understand the presence of media versus the business impact we wisht o create. If its for the brand reputation and employer branding, yes Category A English publications (print and online) are critical. Maybe television too. But, if your business goals are to capture mindspace in the depth of a particular market, then visibility in regional media is the key.

Every campaign should inherently have multi-fold impact – Messaging focused visibility, media publications, visual branding – need to showcase impact on the business goals and eventual behavioral change. Today, we map this after every on-ground press event. The yardstick could be as simple as the change or increase in customer reviews for your platform (if b2c), pull-affect of the business partners interested in collaborating with us (if b2b). These clear indicators showcase the strength of your communication campaign to the larger business and not just that one leader! And most importantly, how well you planned and executed a focused communication campaign (breathe & internalise).

Changing perceptions. Support internal teams. Maybe dis-jointed sentences, but definitely a key element to manage. You need to ensure that all your internal stakeholders – beyond leaders- are invested in the communication campaign. Else, in the end, all those deliverables will simply be a tick in your annual goal sheet. But to ideally make them relevant, you need teams at large to support and have faith in your campaigns. If that one media story can excite your internal team members, it will get far easier to sell to external stakeholders. And thus changing perceptions should be that ever-evolving goalpost for you. What are you contributing and how your campaign for media / future talent / industry or government entities impacts the organisation at large – is a narrative we need to start explaining to everybody.

These might seem like simple milestones or pieces that we already have been working with. So, now we need to string these back into one line, defining a new framework of success metrics for the next Communication campaign. Happy to hear any feedback or more additions to this list.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Pooja Trehan
Pooja Trehan, AVP, Communications & Public Policy.

Bringing up a 7 year-old boy and building a career in Communications have possibly been the key driving forces in my life! Obviously, apart from the 6am runs and eternal love for black coffee. The reality of 2020 hit this industry with the worst storm, but gave me a silver lining through awards & recognition in the 40Under40 category for PR and Corporate communication professionals (three of them in one year!). My goal is to keep - Communications - as the big picture, whilst being the wanderlust traveller who is reading all the time!

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