Creating ROI and Proving Value in Corporate Communication and PR
According to PRIME Research/Americas CEO Mark Weiner, corporate communicators today are facing multiple challenges in measurement and proving the value of PR spending. “But, it’s clear everyday that research, measurement, and evaluation are within the reach and budget of everyone in the business today,” he said. “With the tools, evolving standards, and best practices in place, even practitioners with no budget at all can establish simple and inexpensive measurement systems.”
Weiner urges communicators to get started with research-based measurement, and keep doing it. Building trust and momentum within an organization in the value of PR requires data, analysis and actionable recommendations. “Communication and reputation are inextricably entwined,” said Weiner. “Reputation depends on good, strategic communications and good communication requires continual fine-tuning based on reliable information. Solid principles of public relations research and measurement are integral to an organization’s ability to understand and maintain reputation integrity.”
While the larger debate continues to swirl, certain fundamental truths stand. Evaluation begins with objectives that are reasonable, meaningful and measurable
- Value grows by aligning your PR goals with the organization’s
- Knowledge increases by measuring continuously and consistently
- Future plans develop as past performance is evaluated
- Appetites expand among senior executives when measurement (and reporting) occurs whether they require it or not
- Acceptance expands in a “learning-from-measurement” culture and is stunted in a “punish-by-measurement” culture
- Partial illumination compares favorably over total darkness and sets the stage for proving value
At the end of the day, measurement should be able to tell whether the organization’s investment in PR was spent wisely and to positive effect. Even if measurement is simple and inexpensive, it is reasonable for a measurement program to relate the PR yield with the level of investment.
The challenge of public relations measurement is certain to continue and only time will tell which measurement approach works best for an organization. Success may build slowly—but it is contingent upon intelligence, initiative and perseverance. The results of the measurement process help tailor programs for maximum effectiveness and efficiency, gradually increasing the yield of an organization’s investment in public relations.
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