#SCoReTalk – 4: Measurement Priorities During a Lockdown

School of Communications and Reputation (SCoRe) organised the 4th edition of the SCoReTalk. The talk on ‘Measurement Priorities During a Lockdown’ was moderated by Pradyuman Maheshwari, Founder, Editor-in-Chief & CEO at MxM India. The webinar helped in understanding how besides measurements that helps measure campaigns, impact, and reach, today we also need measurements that measure brand health, integrity, employee sentiment, etc.

With the effects of COVID-19 that are felt globally as well as in India. What should measurement in the PR and Communication business entail? What happens in a scenario when newspaper distribution is impacted considerably? What metrics can PR and Communications professionals use in this period for the right outcome?

Sarah Gideon, Senior Director and Head Corporate Communications at Flipkart said, “In the last couple of months e-commerce has seen many changes. We have tried to focus on how e-commerce can help in the scenario by promoting social distancing. Besides this, we are doing business updates, partnerships in the eco-system to keep the momentum going. In a 24/7 news cycle, monitoring has been especially critical to us. Observing guidelines by the Ministry of Home Affairs, what competition is doing has helped us plan towards our PR outcomes. During a crisis, there is a time when you have to shift from a reactive to a proactive approach. We have used our platform of Flipkart Stories where one true voice gives stories to our multiple stakeholders and the media. This ensures our message is straightforward and effective.”

Rammohan Regulapati, Head – Corporate Communications and Community Relations at Ultra Tech Cement said, “Some learning’s that we have had.

1) Trust is the Premium – In a crisis, people see the safety of products and services they can rely on.

2) Lead with Integrity – Leading by integrity and leading with integrity.

3) Partnering for Value – PR and Comms will be under tremendous pressure to understand and match up to changing expectations.

4) Catalyse the change – We can deliver better when we understand the context, ecosystem, industry and know key trends.

5) Experiment and Evolve – There is no better learning than during times of crisis. It allows opportunities to learn new skills.

6) Culture of Creativity – Innovate ideas and have content that helps in managing critical times.

7) Embracing the Eco-system –Build a coalition, leverage the collective ability of stakeholders in an eco-system to build positive change.

8) Need to think –The leaders should focus on communicating the whys.”

Adding to this Abhilasha Padhy, Co-Founder and Jt. Managing Director at 80 dB Communications said, “We are advising clients to demonstrate how they can go beyond just a product, platform or company. E.g. A liquor brand we worked with is now creating hand sanitisers and giving out free to the healthcare services, sectors at large. They and other such brands will see traditional measurements and metrics for traditional awareness increase but people will remember the brands that helped them in the hour of need. We are using interesting metrics at 80 dB like measuring social engagement, research and survey, brand sentiment analysis etc. to reassess communication not just launch into any campaign. The new normal will have no space for vanity metrics; data will showcase the health of the brand.”

Rishi Seth, Group CEO at 6 Degrees BCW said, “Instead of battles of wallets and share of voice, you have to go to hearts and minds of people first. Trust, authenticity, empathy is what brands want to communicate today to stakeholders starting from employees, customers, partners, etc. There are intangible things that clients want to communicate today for long term reputation.

The environment is very dynamic and there are 4 phases to COVID:

1) Safety 

2) Renew 

3) Revive 

4) Flourish

The big things that need to be measured and validated by communications teams are:

  1. Are we being authentic across all our channels?
  2. Measuring employee sentiments today is also an integral part of communication”

Aseem Sood, CEO at Impact Research and Measurement said, “Most times people understand measurement as a report card of what we have done, did we achieve the right objectives or not.” He went on to share facts and ideas through a presentation.

He elaborated on what he learned from his clients. “For clients, CSR and society commitments have become the priority. Employee related and internal communication stands second. Typically, people think measurement starts after you start a campaign but I believe measurement starts even before you have set up your objectives.

A survey conducted found the following changes in ‘Stakeholder Expectations.’

  • 75% of respondents felt that companies should not exploit the health crisis to promote their brand
  • 77% expect brands to be helpful during this Pandemic
  • 75% of people want to know how brands are reacting to the current Pandemic
  • 78% are urging brands to take care of their employees

He reiterated the example shared by Rishi Seth on Cult Fit where they sacked employees but at the same time donated money to the PM Care fund. He said if they had the above data they would probably take different measures.”

When asked about how it impacts when print media is not reaching the audience the way it should, Rammohan Regulapati said, “In industries like e-commerce, hospitals, etc. the convergence between consumer and citizen was very strong. This became a natural fit for some sectors to be able to leverage their business agenda with the audiences.”

Adding to it, Aseem Sood said, “Print is not the only way corporates can reach out to the stakeholders. The importance of having your digital channel has grown. People today use their own Twitter handles and blogs. Even LinkedIn has started communicating with the right stakeholders depending on the platform. The government of India is using TikTok etc. All these are outputs and can be measured.”

The webinar ended with Pradyuman stating that this discussion can go on forever and this is the new normal. Hemant Gaule, Dean at SCoRe thanked the panelists for sharing their valuable insights and the attendees for joining the webinar.

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

Nafisa Jalal
Nafisa Jalal is a part of the Class of 2020 of PG Programme in PR and Corporate Communications at SCoRe, Mumbai. She completed her winter internship with Ketchum Sampark, Mumbai.

She completed her graduation in Psychology and Sociology majors from Sophia College, Mumbai University. Then started her career with Human Resources in a generalist profile for 6.5 years. She wanted to venture in an industry that lets her work on business closely, provides an opportunity to learn and meet new people and at the same time is also dynamic. PR is one such industry. She has good command over her communication skills and she enjoys writing, few traits that a PR professional must possess.

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