PR Week Measurement Roundtable Q&A Takeaways

July 7th, 2011

Valerie Simon

Questions And AnswersOn Wednesday, May 4th, I had the opportunity to attend the PR Week Measurement Roundtable, along with some of my BurrellesLuce colleagues.

The roundtable focused on the constantly evolving role of measurement in the PR industry. Bernadette Casey, senior editor at PR Week, and Johna Burke, SVP of marketing here at BurrellesLuce, hosted the event. The breakfast provided attendees the opportunity to network with more than 25 senior leaders in measurement and featured a Q&A with Jason Forget, corporate reputation manager for GE Energy, among BurrellesLuce clients and friends.

In a quest to become a “gold standard communicator,” measurement is a key component of PR and marketing activity. In fact, 70 percent of the day at GE Energy is spent doing media monitoring and analysis.

Here are a few takeaways I tweeted:

  • The Barcelona Principles are gaining traction. The concepts are straight forward and it is now incumbent on PR professionals to begin applying these principles.
  • Use measurement to propel the organization forward. Move from proactive to reactive.
  • Move beyond using numbers as an effort to validate efforts and consider the insight those numbers provide.
  • Keep in mind that while preferences change, human behavior\psychology stays the same. Study and learn from trends.
  • Insight is not always about dollars and cents.  Don’t be so focused on the bottom line that you overlook opportunities to gain valuable insights regarding long term stakeholder behavior.

Some of my BurrellesLuce colleagues, who were also in attendance, provided a few additional takeaways from the measurement roundtable:

Crystal deGoede, marketing specialist –

  • Measurement has to be integrated across all functions of an organization.
  • Measurement must focus on the conversation and communities not just the coverage an organization receives.

Denise Giacin, senior account manager, client services –

  • Measurement is about the people. Identifying influencers and understanding the outcomes of interactions, not about output of the number of messages.
  • Better technologies are needed to help identify the “influencer.”

Tom Kowalski, senior account manager, client services –

  • To be successful, an organization’s measurement program needs to provide value.
  • Measurement is about people understanding the outcome of activities and their impact on business not about them understanding the numbers.

All three cited the incorporation of social media into the measurement mix as another important takeaway:

  • Social media is becoming increasingly important, even to companies who don’t use mainstream social media channels (e.g., Facebook and Twitter).  For example, GE has a 50/50 split between mainstream and social media in order to gain market share and has discovered their audiences use vertical social media outlets, such as electrical engineering forums and discussion boards online.

For a closer examination of metrics strategies, check out this PR Week article discussing other important measurement questions and topics from the roundtable.

How is your organization measuring your public relations efforts? What metrics do you believe are most important to the leadership of your organization?

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