A rough estimate indicates that not more than 5% of the industry (India & globally) is involved in actual PR measurement, or at least attempting it. The majority of the industry is confusing PR or News monitoring numbers – share of voice, tonality, geographic spread, etc. – as the start and end of the huge ocean called measurement. Further, many seek gratification with the help of advertising equivalent scores also known as EAVs or AVEs.
Very simply put, Measurement is nothing but adding context, reasoning and scientific conclusion to industry’s existing PR monitoring framework.
Before explaining what PR Measurement stands for, let me first attempt to clarify what measurement is certainly not!
- Count of articles, thickness of news coverage folder, etc is not measurement
- AVE/EAV score is not measurement. It can be referred to as a curse or cancer, suit yourself
- Share of voice, tonality, etc., compressed in a PowerPoint also do not qualify to be measurement as these are scores from monthly monitoring exercises
Before we get into stating what measurement comprises of, a fair way to begin will that to achieve measurement, PR or News Monitoring exercises is just the start or a subset. What PR monitoring does is that it calculates scores based on the news volume or buzz your brand has been able to generate as compared to your competition set based on under quantitative and qualitative parameters. A balanced quantity and quality of news volume leads to Top of Mind (TOM) or recall within stakeholder targets.
To understand the larger frame of Measurement, we need to first picturise and understand that any form or category of Corporate or Marketing “brand” communication flow – for any industry vertical, goes through the standard process of:
- PR INPUT
- Setting of business & PR communication objectives
- Plan Finalisation
- PR PLAN EXECUTION
- PR OUTPUT
- Qty & Qlty of Brand News/Conversation Visibility
- PR OUTCOME
- Brand Recall & Engagement – ROO
- Business Outcome – ROI
Other thinking hats have categorised the same concept using different jargons such as, PLANNING – EXPOSURE – ENGAGEMENT – CONVERSION. If you search further, you will come across some other jargons or terminologies. Irrespective, the ethos is the same. Suit yourself, create your own terms. From a big picture perspective, we are actually speaking about a concept called account planning framework.
Measurement is nothing but a construct of all the 4 components mentioned above. It gets a head start from point 1 and only then it is able to conclude on point 4. The current horizon of PR or News Monitoring outputs, which sadly for many, is equivalent of measurement, is actually addressing a very small bit of only point 3(a) above – not very accurately and holistically – because it has not taken into account point 1. The current look and feel of reports do not generate excitement or traction from the Top Management and makes it a drab monthly affair. Many changes, improvisations & standardisations will strengthen this block.
Measurement is about discussing scientific conclusions. What is the objective we set in point 1. In other words, why are we doing PR or why are we communicating? Was our communication plan able to achieve both points 4 (a & b both) or only 4(a). Points 4 (a & b both) are verticals that bring the elements of the scientific conclusion. Again, this assembly line is incomplete if it does not start with point 1 – PR INPUT.
This is precisely the reason why PR Measurement service providers should never consider Corporate Communications function as their end customer. Instead, they should think towards enabling or arming this desk with every possible MiS so that they in turn can answer every possible question their final or end customer – Top Management – ask them and bring the discussion to a scientific conclusion.
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