Brand Building or Media Relations? A PR desk’s measurement framework reveals focus

A glance at an organisation’s PR Measurement framework gives an indication of the disposition, KRAs and KPIs of the PR machinery of that organisation. One can visualise aspects such as a) Is the intent to build brand reputation & brand management or is it simply media relations b) how the top management perceives this desk c) the KRAs and KPIs allotted to this desk d) kind of deliverables given to the Communication Firms they work with…and so on.

By and large, majority of the industry’s end of the month reports would reflect that the Top Management’s ask from their PR machinery is media relations. More so, what they call as PR measurement reports hinge towards monitoring!

However, to ensure stronger relevance of words like PR, PR Consultancy, Corporate Communications within the minds of the CXOs, the need of the hour is to design a PR Measurement report framework that supports Corporate & Product brand building, not just media relations and atleast generate ROO, if not ROI!

There are many symptoms in an end of the month PR report that indicate that the PR machinery is titled largely or only towards media relations. Below are some of the common symptoms:

  1. Four broad sections: The monthly report that reflect skew towards media relations largely contain around four to five broad sections of information – 1. Share of Voice 2. Tonality 3. Geographic spread 4. Journalist Details. Another section or two that may come up are the visibility numbers for the business or product categories and the spokespersons details.
  2. AVEs create Euphoria: AVEs (advertising value equivalent) are used to evaluate the PR performance. Meeting the AVE target set by the Top Management creates a sense of euphoria! However, when one studies the individual news clips, it generally turns out that majority of the news coverage hint towards serendipity. Thud factor or thickness of the folder add on to the AVE calculations.
  3. Count of articles: Quantitative parameters like count of articles and space become the bedrock of all calculations. Which is why, missing, or non-accounting of even a single news clip may create havoc in the custodian’s effort to establish value generation for the organisation.
  4. SOV rank dips when the Top Management has no news push: Gone are the days when an organisation would have a smooth ride with most of the months in year being Business as usual (BAU). Frequency of Business not as usual (BNAU) is increasing. Lull period, when Top Management does not have any news or announcement to push, makes it difficult for media relations-oriented PR Desk to sustain the momentum of PR Visibility. As a result, SOV ranks dip.
  5. Definition of “Good work” – Large format stories: A mark of penultimate PR success is the achievement of exclusive and large news formats like Q&A, cover feature or exclusive news reports around or more than 100 ccms. So, conversion of a couple of such large format stories marks victory and a subsequent reduction (sometimes closure) in targeted efforts in a month.

For the future of public relations to be safe and achieve scale, it needs to enjoy a respectable top of mind recall and understanding within the minds of the Top Management – CEO, CMO, CFO & CHRO. For this, a scientific and robust PR Measurement & Analytics framework will be needed to justify that every money spent on the PR corridor has been worthy. As a result, basic KPIs like time spent between Top Management and PR Desk increases. Recall of PR Desk is not just during the 11th hour or news announcement and crisis but at the very beginning when business planning starts!

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

Siddhartha Mukherjee
Siddhartha is the founder of Brand Balance that helps the C-suite & CCO collective optimize its Brand Reputation Management ERPs (efforts, resources & processes) across stakeholders. His professional mission is to establish the Corporate Communications function as the only engine towards brand reputation and valuation success.

Before setting up Brand Balance, a neutral organization, his past 23 years of holistic learning curve includes leadership roles across all the three sides of the industry – corporate communications, communications firms and as a business head of a brand data analytics, audit, research & measurement global behemoth. During spare time, he bikes across the Indian highways, writes articles, consults students & professionals and teaches at media and business schools.

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