“WHY” creates the foundation of PR Measurement framework

Who, what, when, where, why & how constitute the 6 soldiers of any communication management framework. However, when it comes to PR Measurement (or any other form of brand communication), “Why” contributes or creates the foundation that decides its detailing and success.

The question “Why” stands for why a corporate or product brand is communicating with its target audiences or stakeholders. Often, “Why” remains to be vague and lacks last mile detailing. We fall short of adding more “whys” to achieve a justifiable and an accountable answer!

Why are we issuing this press release? Why are we working towards this one-on-one interview? Why are we doing this press conference? Why do we want to participate in this industry story? Why are we responding to this media query? Why are we putting out this social media post?

There could be many such questions that focus on “why”. However, what we answer for this “why” component decides what we call as measurement.

Come what may, the answer to “Why are we communicating or doing PR” should culminate on the following: a) to build Brand Recall b) Brand Engagement c) Brand Conversion and d) Brand Sustenance among all stakeholders.

Most of the PR measurement reports floating in the market do not address whether the Client organisation achieved the “WHY” or even helped the organisation come closer to achieving it. The reports typically do a touch and go of ‘What’ the communication was, ‘Where’ the communication was seen, ‘When’ it was seen, ‘How’ it was seen and so on.

Without a “WHY”, the rest of the 5 soldiers (What, When, Where, How, Who) kind of end up making the numbers document more like a PR Monitoring report!

For the PR measurement framework to be fortified with the “WHY” component, one needs to think and work backwards. Much before we reach the stage of measurement, the Client & its PR Firms need to incorporate “WHY” in their PR Plans. Getting to see a well written, detailed and scientific “WHY” in the PR Plan is a rarity. There are isolated cases where the teams are doing a fantastic job!

A fresh way of looking at addressing or defining WHY could be to structure it under:

  1. STEP 1 – PR OUTPUT:

PR OUTPUT: Output is all about the quantity and quality of visibility the communication programme or campaign has been able to generate across various media platforms like print, television, social media, online news websites or portals, podcasts, etc. Aspects like reach, frequency, sustenance, emotions, balance across touchpoints, etc. need to be evaluated here.

PR OUTCOME: Outcome is a domain that needs the PR professional to use the lens of CXO – like a CEOs, CMOs, CHROs, etc. How has the PR programme benefitted them or helped their KRAs. Has it helped build the brand recall, engagement, or conversion within the stakeholders/target audiences they manage?

The reason why the brand communication industry outside Public Relations has grown exponentially is because they are very clear on addressing “WHY”. It is the bed rock of their conversation among Client, Communications team, consultancy and the measurement & analytics service provider. It reflects in their plans and evaluation parameter.

Embedding “WHY” as an elementary discipline will bring a sea change and add scale & stature to the Public Relations business as well!

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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