Selling the value of PR is difficult in this day and age where digital and social media marketing reign supreme and PR teams and their firms are increasingly reporting to CMO’s that understand less and less the power of third-party validation and the media. The result: agencies must show value more than ever before.
The problem is with the rise of digital advertising, it’s many KPIs and metrics, and a lack of a formal set of PR measurement standards. It is difficult to know what metrics to track and report, not to mention how to track them. That’s why so many PR practitioners are still tempted to use AVE’s. Even though they are commonly viewed as incorrect standards, at least they are consistent.
Furthermore, agencies and their customers blindly become too reliant on technology which delivers analytics that are not 100% accurate, let alone valuable.
These were two of the key topics brought up at the Holmes PRovoke18 Global PR Summit during a session moderated by Michael Murphy from Michael Murphy Ltd. and featuring speakers: Brands2life Founder Giles Fraser, Strategic Partners Group Founder Aman Gupta, JPA Health Communications Founder Carrie Jones and Rockland Dutton Research CEO, Dr. David Rockland.
Rockland Dutton Research partner/CEO David Rockland told the conference that AI should not be viewed as the future of PR measurement. While it might help, “It’s up to humans,” he added.
So what is the state of PR analytics in the communications community? According to Giles Fraser it is undergoing a “Moneyball Moment.”
Firms should not be discouraged or overwhelmed by data and the plethora of tools/ techniques to measure this data. He added that, “my feeling is there has never been a greater opportunity for us to deliver value to our clients in terms of the range of outcomes we can provide.” “We have the potential to deliver lots of outcomes, but we don’t necessarily have the resources to monitor all of those. So, we must be selective. We can say we know what good looks like and we can benchmark it.”
So what does “good” look like? Our take here at PublicRelay is that while measurement programs must always be tailored on a client by client basis, PR practitioners and their agencies across every industry are tasked with the most important function: protecting a brand’s reputation and growing its brand value.
That’s why when faced with pressure to demonstrate worth, PR practitioners must keep one thing in mind: an effective reputation management strategy starts with identifying your key brand drivers and demonstrating your impact on them consistently over time. As our CEO Eric Koefoot said in a presentation at the PRSA 2018 International Conference, “reputation is core to the profession”.