by Sharon Miller
Showing the impact of your PR strategy is perhaps the most vital aspect of proving the effectiveness of your campaigns and growing your future public relations strategies, but it’s not easy to determine which data is important and which analytics you should focus on. At this year’s PRSA International Conference, I attended a session about just this issue. The day’s experts were Jeni Chapman, US managing director of Gorkana; Sparky Zivin, director at Brunswick Group; and Elizabeth Stoltz, senior research associate at Ketchum.
The panelists stressed that the industry-level goal is to build frameworks, akin to the Barcelona Principles. The advocate abandoning silos and having PR and marketing teams work together to share and talk about their plans and objectives.
As PR pros, it can be difficult to determine what conversations you should listen to, as there’s a lot of noise out there. The panelists suggest getting rid of the noise and focusing on quality. And getting quality in your data is crucial, as the AMEC International Business Insights Survey showed that 67 percent of clients request a clear financial ROI.
The importance of a framework is twofold: first, it helps define your PR activity with content creation, traditional media, social media, influencers, stakeholders, and events. It also helps you measure intermediary effects like audience reach, impressions, and number of articles.
The panelists presented a case study of an Aquafresh campaign, in which the Tooth Fairy left her calling card, or a note in a box for a child who lost a tooth. There was a two-minute song that incentivized brushing teeth, and the length of that song was based on the American Dental Association recommendation that people brush their teeth for two minutes.
In addition to a great PR response that included Tooth Fairy inflation (higher prices for a tooth), kids also talked about how much money they received for their tooth. The measureable outcome resulted in a 2.7 percent increase in sales, and the PR team got a larger budget for marketing because the management saw how PR drives noise.
Panelists also presented a UNICEF case study, which showcases the steps PR pros should take to an effective, measurable campaign. UNICEF’s goal included a global strategy across their more than 100 international offices. They followed precise steps, first selecting their audience, which included youth (to inspire action), the middle class, government and corporations, and their employees, who would hopefully drive the initiative.
They defined key objectives for each audience, including reaching one billion around the world and getting them to take action and getting 50 million of them to actively engage. Next, they adapted their measurement framework to include voice, reach, engagement, brand, and message delivery. They then selected KPIs in each framework element, including quality of communications activities, quality of noise, and quality of reach.
Next, they applied tools and mechanics to measure the impact of their work, which included social media engagement, event attendance, online followers and supporters, and behavioral changes like volunteering.
With a framework like this in mind, it makes measuring your impact an easier, more precise job. And remember that though there are plenty of algorithms and automated measurement tools out there, nothing will ever replace human judgment.
What do you think are the best steps for devising and measuring an effective PR campaign?