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Evaluating the media: Is it time to out the 'Outs'?

PR geekiness - the tools & techniques to gain insights from PR exposure

Monday, November 12, 2007

Is it time to out the 'Outs'?

The traditional method of measuring PR (pioneered by Dr Walt Lindenmann) was via the measures of Output, Out-take and Outcome. They have been widely covered in academic journals and used as a method of categorising response measurement. Dr Tom Watson in DummySpit outlines their use in this useful review. But there seems to be a problem as the ‘Outs’ are often misused and I think it is fair to say, poorly understood by practitioners.

So in response a couple of alternatives have been pitched. Dan Bartholomew suggests the Exposure, Influence and Action categories, while Jim Nail suggests Media Influence, Media Audience and Business Influence. They both undoubtedly have their merits and while I think they could be accused of introducing more jargon, discussion on this issue is healthy, particularly if it engages view from the wider PR community rather than from just within the measurement community.

Personally I prefer Dan Bartholomews option but as this is very early days much more information and practical application and testing needs to be done. And of course if a new option is to be adopted it needs to be much better than the existing.

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Blogger glenn said...

Actually although developed by Dr Lindenmann, the use of the terms "output", "outtake" and "outcome" are coming from the evaluation field and the logical framework tool. "outtake" are in fact "short-term outcomes" in the evaluation world. Perhaps what is missing is the notion of "impact" which follows "outcome" - this is defined as "Positive and negative, primary and secondary long-term effects produced by an intervention, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended". Personally, I think we should keep these broad labels as it assists in making comparisons to other fields.

10:53 am

Anonymous http://alanchumley.wordpress.com said...

Kudos to Don. Semantics really, because it's a rose by any other name. Both taxonomies do the same thing. The value of Don's is that it's likely easier for those who don't do measurement for a living to grasp. I'd point out, though, that the jump from exposure to influence is much bigger than the jump from influence to action. I think 'understanding' should be in between exposure and influence.

2:50 pm


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