need for holistic uniform measurement system
By Neha Chandra
Q: What is the one question every client asks at a review meeting and a potential client asks at a business pitch?
A: What will be the outcome?
Measurement in PR is about accounting for all the activities that you have designed and executed for your client. These activities form a part of a campaign that is devised to drive behaviour change for the brand. PR efforts are intangible and deliver results over time. This however does not mean it cannot be measured. A case in point is an award-winning PR campaign where the brand is a breast pump and nursing accessories manufacturer. They had found that many Indian women either gave up breastfeeding when they went back to work or quit their jobs when they gave birth. They took to public relations to help reach out to their audience.
Need to measure
The idea behind measurement is to understand how the campaign has performed and to assess return on investment. It is to give a clear picture on what is working, what isn’t and what needs a renewed perspective. It also opens a pathway for what to keep in mind when devising future campaigns for the brand. The first step in outlining a clear path to measurement is to mutually understand what the client wants to achieve and to then align the business and communication objectives.
What to measure?
Brand value depends on not just the numbers but the story it narrates and the stance it takes in front of its audience. PR measures both quantitatively and qualitatively. It is a 360-degree viewpoint so that our clients have a holistic picture. The need for this 2-pronged measurement approach is to present return on investment in terms of numbers and target audience sentiment.
To quantify PR impact, we monitor media results in terms of the stories published in target media that mention the brand name and the media impressions. We evaluate the numbers garnered through earned, owned or social media thereby understanding from where target audience approach the brand. We look at the social media metrics such as likes, comments and shares.
The results of the campaign mentioned, part of which a video story was published and disseminated, received 116,297 views when it was flashed by Press Trust of India. It delivered a 50% increase in sales of brand’s breast pumps in one year and a 20% increase in the number of target audience queries at retail outlets.
The qualitative parameter involves analysing both the media as well as the target audience sentiment. We must evaluate the content and tonality of the stories published. We should check if the brand’s key message comes through because this reflects how the media feels about the brand. We evaluate the conversations on social media platforms with target audience. We pay close heed to message resonance with the TA and how the communication made them feel.
The campaign’s achievement came forth when new mothers started talking about breastfeeding while getting ‘Back to Work’
Need for a uniform system
There is need for a standardised measurement system for PR professionals that defines measurement metrics and tools to be used across the industry. We can choose the measurement parameters that support a specific PR campaign for an effective evaluation. Uniformity will ensure we don’t resort to incorrect and unnecessary metrics and inflated numbers. It will help us know where our campaigns stand and what we can learn from others.
A successful campaign is one that starts off with clearly defined objectives in line with the measurement parameters and whose PR goals can seamlessly integrate with the brand’s business objective and give realistic returns.
A win-win scenario for all.
(The author is a young PR practitioner working with a leading consultancy and she believes that storytelling is an art that simplifies communication between industries and their consumers. You can follow her Twitter – @nehac95)