29th June 2020
Tom Jenkin

PR Measurement 101: Establishing a successful framework

Key takeaways from our webinar on building a system for PR value

We recently held an incredibly insightful webinar on PR measurement frameworks, presented by Chichi Osuagwu from The World Bank Group. Below are just some of the key takeaways from the webinar, which you can watch in full here.

When measuring PR going beyond output metrics, such as sentiment and messaging, is key to analysing the benefits of media coverage and understanding the real impact of how Communications is changing behaviours. Establishing a framework to demonstrate PR success is an important step but it’s also a time-consuming process, even more so across global markets.

A framework will help you move away from measuring inputs and outputs, like reach and clippings, to systematically reporting on the outcomes and impact on long-term business objectives. Here are just some of the main considerations for PR measurement:

Knowing your audience

Vaguely defined audiences are one of the biggest challenges comms professionals face when it comes to measurement. Without knowing what kind of change they want to affect on who, establishing a framework to measure success is almost impossible.

Setting the right objectives

Without knowing what you want to achieve – or whose behaviour you want to change – you cannot know if your PR efforts have been successful or if they’ve failed. Setting SMART objectives – specific, measurable, assignable, relevant, time-based – will enable you to measure your performance effectively.

Showing the value of communications

If PR isn’t able to show value, it can be seen as a cost centre without being able to show how it fit into business goals. Despite all your activities, you’re not able to tell how these ladder up to business goals – which is what your senior leadership cares about. Aligning PR measurement with wider business objectives is therefore key to reporting upwards.

Avoiding vanity metrics

Vanity metrics that don’t align to organisational objectives will never let you tell the narrative of how you impact your business. Think how you can isolate those metrics that really matter as opposed to focusing on the big numbers. Always be questioning “what does this mean?” to bring continuous improvement and help you improve as you go along.

Achieving buy-in from across the organisation

It can be difficult to know what approach to take when trying to achieve buy-in for a measurement framework.

Opting for a top down approach, you will want to start by consulting leadership teams across the business. They will help you identify their priorities and in doing so, you can build that into your measurement framework. Not only do you have alignment in your program, but you can achieve their buy-in at an early stage. To validate your approach, you can bring in external help to make any implementation of your measures feel less imposed.

Opting for a bottom-up approach, you’ll need to ensure consistency in methodologies. It’s important to standardise your tools, definitions and ways of measuring, and to be inclusive in this process so your data is true, transparent and relevant. You could conduct a survey of your peers to understand current practices across multiple regions and, in doing so, find out commonalities and differences across the organisation.

Watch all of Chichi’s presentation on PR measurement and a Q&A hosted by Signal AI’s measurement expert Neil Morrison here.