Posts Tagged ‘Public Relations’


Using Measurement and Evaluation to Take Business to Next Level

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

By: Pam Golden, President, GLA Communications*

Photo courtesy of PRSA

If you ask most PR professionals, measurement and evaluation is an area we struggle with whether you work for an agency or in-house. Johna Burke, Chief Marketing Officer for BurrellesLuce, one of the industry’s most respected experts on measurement, presented “Use Measurement and Evaluation to Take Business to the Next Level,” at the 2017 PRSA International Conference. No matter how many presentations and webinars I attend on this topic, there is always so much more to learn and Johna shared concepts I hadn’t considered.

Of course, intellectually we know we should tie our communications objectives to an organization’s business goals, but do we always? With PR fighting for share of wallet and marketing budget, it is more important than ever to have clear and measurable objectives. Johna calls them SMARTER objectives:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely
  • Ethical
  • Revolutionizing

Together, these seven objectives can ensure that our programs and campaigns tie back to the business as well as demonstrate value, which is an overarching goal for all of us.

So, just how do you demonstrate value?  Johna shared four areas for us to consider:

  • Increase revenue, profit, growth, value, retention, ROI or ROA, efficiency, visibility
  • Reduce costs, time/effort, complaints, risk, turnover, conflict, paperwork
  • Improve productivity, processes, service, information, morale, reputation, skills, loyalty, quality
  • Create strategy, systems, processes, business, products, services, brand

According to Johna, we must make sure data and information are relevant for the audience; therefore  it is critical to understand where you are and where your audience is in the ecosystem. PR professionals need to think like analysts, which means we should be looking beyond the numbers and putting them into context and perspective for our audiences. That includes challenging what the numbers mean to show correlation to outputs and outcomes because without qualitative information the data is meaningless.

Johna pointed to the Integrated Evaluation Framework from AMEC – the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication as a great tool that was developed to help standardize evaluation and provide tools based on best practices. It is set up in seven sections designed to obtain qualitative information, not just quantitative data:

Objectives, inputs, activities, outputs, out-takes, outcomes, and impact

This interactive framework can be accessed here.

And, of course, none of this is really achievable without critical thinking, which is an essential skill, and Johna’s acronym – RED – says it all:

  • Recognize Assumptions
  • Evaluate Arguments
  • Draw conclusions

None of this is complicated, but it requires consistent commitment from everyone on our teams to ensure success.

*Pam Golden is president of GLA Communications which she founded in 1986.  Her expertise has helped fuel many successful communications campaigns including the launch of home satellite TV, DVD and HDTV. Pam provides high-level strategic and tactical counsel to GLA’s clients, bringing the benefit of more than 30 years of experience in creating and executing effective campaigns that deliver results. Pam is an active member of the Public Relations Society of America and serves on the executive committee for its Counselors Academy sector, where she is also chair of the programming committee. In April 2017, Pam was named as a finalist in the Leading Women Entrepreneurs “Brand Builders” category, which celebrates communications professionals who excel in brand innovation.

Ignite Brilliance in Your Leadership

Friday, October 20th, 2017

By: Pam Golden, President, GLA Communications*

In many companies, the typical path to leadership is to do outstanding work and perform well at your current job, so you are promoted to the next level. And, you succeed at that level, so you are promoted and it continues. Eventually, you are managing a team, which is exciting and challenging. But, leading is far different than doing and requires a different skillset. Critical to leadership success is learning how to motivate and guide your team to achieve the best results.

Photo Courtesy of PRSA.org

AmyK Hutchens, a respected business strategist and dynamic speaker, kicked off Day 2 of the 2017 PRSA International Conference with an engaging and inspiring keynote, sharing thought-provoking insights on how to “Ignite Brilliance in Your Leadership.”

So how do you ignite brilliance in your leadership? There is no magic bullet, but two key takeaways that resonated with me are: raising the quality of critical thinking and setting your team up for success.

AmyK’s statement that the job of a leader is to raise the quality of conversations and the quality of thinking inside our companies is spot on. For PR professionals, critical thinking is one of the most important skills, not just in our day-to-day work, but also when managing a team. To raise the quality of thinking among your team, AmyK challenged us to ask bigger, broader and bolder questions and to have problem-solving discussions rather than data dumps.

A challenge facing many leaders is how to get the best results from team members. Even if you have a team of superstars, there are times when people struggle. As AmyK stated, we tend to perpetuate the focus on the problem. Instead, she recommends aligning brilliance by identifying the person’s strengths and what’s working, and then connecting those positives with objectives and payoffs. Of course, this is a continual process and requires ongoing conversations and tweaking, but this concept of using engagement, buy-in and commitment to solve problems is compelling.

As one who has founded and led a PR agency for more than 30 years, I agree with AmyK that our number one job as leaders is to set up our team members for success. This requires a commitment by the organization to expand the skillsets and show the path to growth, as well as providing the tools needed. Her question “what are we doing to develop the leadership pipeline?” is one every company should be focusing on so that we can create outstanding and successful leaders of tomorrow.

*Pam Golden is president of GLA Communications which she founded in 1986.  Her expertise has helped fuel many successful communications campaigns including the launch of home satellite TV, DVD and HDTV. Pam provides high-level strategic and tactical counsel to GLA’s clients, bringing the benefit of more than 30 years of experience in creating and executing effective campaigns that deliver results. Pam is an active member of the Public Relations Society of America and serves on the executive committee for its Counselors Academy sector, where she is also chair of the programming committee. In April 2017, Pam was named as a finalist in the Leading Women Entrepreneurs “Brand Builders” category, which celebrates communications professionals who excel in brand innovation.

Adulting as A New Professional

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

By: Whitney Welker*

As a recent college graduate, it would be a lie if I said that working in the ‘real’ world turned out to be everything I thought it would be. You know what I’m talking about. The whole ‘oh now my life is magically all together’ scenario. You land the perfect job and all of a sudden you have all this free time for friends, perhaps a hobby, oh and of course you meet your soul mate almost immediately {retch}. At least that’s what we are led to believe;MayaAngelouStillLearning that all of our problems will be solved by our first job. WRONG.

One of the first things I learned out of college was that everything I’d need to know about doing my job to the best of my ability wasn’t necessarily going to be things I learned in the classroom.  All of those ‘real life’ scenarios, case studies and pitches that we worked on so diligently meant very little now. Yes, while in college I learned intangible skills to prepare me for landing a job, and I most definitely learned more about the industry, but there was so much more to learn.

As a result, I started looking to my coworkers for examples and advice. To give a little background, with my job I am a marketing department, of one, for the region I support, so it’s pretty safe to say that learning by brainstorming and picking the brains of my coworkers was going to be my best option. Learning from your coworkers can actually be one of the best things as well. They have been in the industry longer than you, so use that experience to help yourself succeed.

Another thing that I learned was not to try and tackle the world in a day. This will never work. I find myself making a To Do list for the day with about 25 things on it. Let’s be honest, all of those items are not going to get done today. So I learned to make a weekly To Do list, and a daily To Do list. This way I can take the time to focus on the tasks that I need to get done that day instead of worrying about a project that I have more time to work on. Sounds like college multitasking again, right?

Working with others is probably the biggest obstacle for me in the ‘real’ world. You don’t realize this as much in college because although you have group projects to work on, those only last, at most, a semester. When you are in the workplace, this ‘group project’ can last years. With so many moving parts in a company I find myself speaking with multiple departments on a daily basis. This means MANY ‘group projects’. It was vital for me to begin learning more about my co-workers’ personalities so that we could succeed as a whole. This means learning when is the right time of day to contact someone. Do they like to have their coffee before talking business? Do they prefer an email over face-to-face or phone conversations? All of these traits, and more, need to be identified so that you can make the most of your time and theirs.

In all, my first job has been great. I love my company, coworkers and job duties. I’m very thankful for the opportunities I have been given, and still look to expand my knowledge about the industry on a daily basis. I believe that when you stop learning, you stop producing. So stay inquisitive and know that although the world after college is tough, you can succeed if you try your hardest every day.

Do you have tips for new communications professionals embarking on their first “adult job” that you’d like to add? We’d love to hear from you!

 

*Whitney Welker is a Marketing Analyst for a utility company. She enjoys the diversity of her role as she not only creates marketing pieces, but also handles customer communication and website content. In her free time Whitney likes to spend time at her family farm and traveling with her friends.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/whitneywelker15
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/whitney-welker-311a93a5

Cyber Security: Fighting Back Against Threats

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

Computer hacker stealing data from a laptop concept for network security, identity theft and computer crime

By Sydney Rodgers*

Theresa Payton is a notable expert on leading cyber security and IT strategy. As former White House CIO from May 2006 until September 2008, she is one of the leading security specialists in the nation. Payton is the CEO of Fortalice Solutions and co-founder of Dark Cubed. Both companies provide security, risk and fraud consulting services to various organizations.

At the recent Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) International Conference, Payton compared potential security risk to connecting a talking Barbie to unknown WIFI sources. According to Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC), in 2015 over 169 million personal records were exposed due to breaches. With the internet playing such a large role in daily life I wanted Payton’s insight on how to structure your brand. Below Payton gives us tips on how to expand your assets without putting them at risk.

 

How does someone determine their most valuable assets?
Your most valuable asset(s) is that information that you absolutely cannot afford to lose. It’s the most critical asset that you need to safeguard and protect either for yourself or your organization.  Lots of digital assets are considered valuable but the top 3 digital assets that cyber criminals target before and during a large event are:

  1. The schedules of notable people and their security detail assignments;
  2. Ability to spoof or fake credentials online or in person; and/or
  3. Stealing personally-identifiable information or the right credentials to access payment information and bank accounts

 

What trends do you see in breaches of security?
Over the course of my career, one item rings true over and over again. Today’s technology, by design, is open so it can be easily updated. That open design also means that a breach is inevitable, but how you plan to respond to one is not. If you create and store data, there will be cyber criminals waiting to pounce to copy it, take it, post it, ransom it, or destroy it. Offensive strategies with defensive mitigating controls work, but a purely defensive strategy is a losing strategy. For every defense you put in the path of a cyber criminal, just like a squirrel after an acorn, they will relentlessly try to circumvent your defenses to grab it.

As we live in today’s world, it would be completely negligent to only think in terms of physical or digital security as two separate entities. We discussed this in great detail at the White House that a security strategy must dovetail the two together, physical and digital, and that a one sided approach was doomed to fail.

 

What things should someone take into consideration when looking into cyber security?
An area often overlooked or widely misunderstood is the use of open source intelligence, also known as OSINT, as part of the overall strategy. 70% of data breach victims indicate that they were alerted they had a breach from someone outside their own organization. That stunning statistic reinforces why every company should target your own organization, as if you are the adversary. This approach helps you identify the information leaking out of your vendor’s connections to your data, through your own employees, or technology, before cyber criminals use that same intelligence to launch an attack against your organization.

Digitally, you can use OSINT tools to identify everything you can about the technology and people that work at your organization. You can also use OSINT to see if your sensitive data has leaked online. Physically, you can use an OSINT technique to digitally geo fence a specific and physical land area and monitor the digital traffic occurring that mentions the location. In the case of fighting terrorism, private sector companies and law enforcement can geo fence critical infrastructure, significant events, and venues and then monitor to identify terrorist capabilities, sympathizers, motivation, flash points and intentions through various OSINT tools.

 

What apps would you suggest someone use to monitor their protection?
Some apps that I use everyday are: Privacy Badger and Ghostery to protect my online browsing from 3rd party marketing firms and other snoops. I also use Threema to protect sensitive text messages.

 

Should there be differences in cyber security for personal and professional?
How you think about protecting your privacy and sensitive digital assets in your personal and work life are the same. Most of the principals that you apply in your personal life should go to the office with you and vice versa. Please make sure you are familiar with the tighter restrictions at work that are typically agreed to within employee agreements that you have signed so you don’t unknowingly break rules or put your company’s most sensitive assets at risk.

 

Follow Theresa Payton on Twitter @trackerpayton. And check out Fortalice Solutions.

*Sydney Rodgers is a student at Southeast Missouri State University. She has always been interested in the communication process and social interaction and is currently studying public relations. In her spare time Sydney likes to keep up with current events and is AVP of Communication for her Public Relations Student Society chapter.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SydSpksSuccess
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sydney-rodgers-5a6305127

PR Can Speak ROI With Marketing: Be Bold!

Friday, September 30th, 2016

AMEC measurement week here in the U.S. may be in our rearview mirror, but the webinar series recaps continue. AMEC North American Co-chair Jeni Lee Chapman was joined by Aron Galonsky, Managing Director of Hotspex US, to talk about bridging the communications gap between PR/communications and marketing—specifically when it comes to ROI (return on investment).

Jeni kicked-off the webinar by sharing some results from a 2015 AMEC study (which included AMEC members from top public relations agencies, measurement firms and corporate communications).

  • 74% of the companies experienced stronger revenue in 2015 vs. 2014
  • 86% agree that PR consultancies recognize the importance of measurement of analytics (up from 72% in 2014)
  • Metrics and tracking systems are in the top 3 priorities according to the Arthur Page Society (comprised of Fortune 500 CCOs)

Photo Credit: Arthur W. Page Society

Any good measurement program begins with conversations—both with management and your marketing counterparts. Jeni and Aron agree that alignment is critical. When this is not the case, it can be difficult to prove that your PR work has increased awareness and engagement—especially when marketing is taking the credit for it (because you are not measuring). Perhaps you don’t have the data you need, or don’t have the budget, or have trouble convincing management of the need (when they just want to see volume of clips).

Five questions to ask when having those conversations, Jeni and Aron recommend:

  • What audiences are PR/communications targeting as compared to marketing?
  • How are we ensuring quality data is being used—not quantitative data that may or may not have value (such as AVEs, impressions, etc.)
  • What are the options for ROI analysis–do you have access to the data you really need?
  • Have we double-checked that we have the right input and outcome variables (tied back to the business objectives)?
  • What is the analysis plan (how do they plan to look at it)?

Setting objectives and creating your alignment model (with the AMEC integrated evaluation framework) in the right context is crucial.  So is having this plan in writing and confirming all interested parties are in agreement.

Aron discussed some of the different ROI modeling from those that are not very complex to those that are highly complex. What you choose all depends on the results of those conversations you’ve had and your subsequent objectives. “If you are not part of the equation, you are not part of the solution, he stated, after explaining key driver analysis, correlation analysis, lift modeling, market mix modeling and more.  Jeni remarked, “what gets measured, gets funded—this is what gives you a seat at the table.”

Throughout the webinar, Jeni and Aron shared some examples and case studies that really made these scenarios easier to understand. If you missed the live webinar, it’s available on demand.

One of their compelling closing comments was, “Experimenting is valid and necessary. Just doing what everyone else is doing is not enough. Be bold!”

Please feel free to share your experience(s), thoughts and/or advice here in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you!