Monday, December 19, 2011

(Trying to) Look ahead



I have been having a few conversations with people regarding the Barcelona Principles and how this relates to different types of organisation and while it is not possible or recommended to transplant a PR plan from one similar organisation to another, there are a number of common themes which keep on coming up:

The importance of objective setting. It is becoming increasingly accepted that setting relevant, measurable objectives is the most important, and sometimes the most difficult bit. 

There are many in the PR/measurement area who want to find standards and common metrics however I would be very surprised if they fall in behind a single measure to supplant the AVE. One view I would uphold is that of Philip Sheldrake, who could be loosely described as the CIPR's measurement 'guru':
“Your organisation is unique, your market is unique, your vision is unique, your strategy is unique, your execution is unique and your measurement & evaluation is unique”. 

If you condone this view I accept it places the onus on organisations to have the confidence to develop and use their own metrics, and to be prepared to argue that it is the best option. As far as I can see it, the best course is to think in simple terms...why a story/campaign might benefit; examine those ideas with a  view to isolating the tangible benefits, like memberships, sales, attendance, media sentiment and hang your metrics off of these. 

There are a few things coming together to make this not at all simple. Unquestionably, departments increasingly need to account for their actions/time and coming up with relevant metrics is a challenge; then add-on digital media and it's seriously complex.

If I were to look a little into the future I would hope the much-wanted 'standards' might consist of a number of measurement techniques, with their use and benefit clearly understood, supported by a large selection of 'cause & effect' case studies which people can refer to. This is what could be referred to as the PR measurement 'back-end'. The front-end has to stay with the PR team...deciding the strategy & objectives. Sure, you can get help with this (general PR frameworks) but it would be from people who don't really understand the nuance of what you are trying to do.