Five Things I Learned at the AMEC Summit in Madrid

tangoRecently, I was in the beautiful city of Madrid. No, I didn’t learn to dance Flamenco. Instead, I attended the AMEC 5th European Summit on Measurement.    While that might not sound as exciting as polka-dot dresses and castanets, it actually was a very interesting experience.

I’d like to share my top five learnings:

1. Measurement is a big deal…and everyone is starting to acknowledge its importance.
Clearly, measurement is not an option anymore, but a strategic discipline for the public relations industry.

  • The summit’s theme, Unlocking Business Performance – Communications research and analytics in action, was aimed to share best practices and advance industry thinking. Indeed, this was the biggest such event with more than 200 global industry leaders, agencies and corporations from 35 countries attending.
  • It is widely understood that research can inform strategy, increase efficiency and strengthen communications.
  • A big part of the conversation in Madrid was that, although measurement already has its principles and people understand its importance, we now need action. To this effect, in his keynote speech, Rob Flaherty, Senior Partner/Chief Executive Officer, Ketchum, called for the need for standards. Rob asked for universal adoption, coming from the Coalition for Public Relations Research Standards.
    • Companies and organizations such as Ketchum, AMEC, GE, GM, Philips, Southwest Airlines, Nissan, McDonalds, and Cleveland Clinic have already committed. Adopting these standards extends the established and adopted Barcelona Principles.

measurement2. Measurement and analytics must enable clients to unlock business results.
It is our job to help our clients achieve their business objectives.

  • As Jodi Kennedy, Head of Corporate and Marketing Communications at SABIC Innovative Plastics and SABIC Americas Region, told us, what clients want most of all is to help them understand, and then deliver metrics that show the ROI from their activities. They want to educate key corporate stakeholders (the C suite) on the value that PR brings.
  • margueriteMarguerite Marston, Commercial Public Relations Manager, IKEA U.S.  gave the top pointers to “keep it simple” to gain client interest. She explained that measurement needs to be simple, yet efficient to be relevant and illustrated this through the simplicity of the famous LACK table, compared to a complex measurement dashboard.
  • Melanie Brooks, Head of Global Communications of CARE International, explained the challenges of evaluating the charity’s media impact on a tight budget.  She mentioned how Andre Manning, VP, Global Head of External Communications, Philips,  and David Rockland,  Partner and Managing Director of Global Research, Dr. David B. Rockland, came to her rescue last year at the AMEC Dublin summit to help her set up a global media measurement system across 14 (or more) offices. Now, CARE International has successfully established a communications measurement system agreed as a global strategic objective in the three-year communications plan.

comm measurement3. Communications measurement is more outcome focused than ever.
Business outcomes must be aligned with business objectives.

  • Business outcomes must be the focus of PR work and measurement should be involved at every stage of the process, from taking the brief through to management. Several AMEC panelists looked at the how analytics can play an increasingly significant role as a key driver of overall performance and competitive advantage.

4. This is only the beginning! And we have an exciting future ahead of us.
Education and collaboration are at the root of progress.

  • One of the key initiatives agreed upon at the Summit was the Global Education Programme to provide baseline measurement training materials for PR professionals.
  • Collaboration is another key area of focus:
  • AMEC announced a strategic partnership with the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) and the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA).  ICCO and the PRCA will collaborate with AMEC on education initiatives and other events with ICCO members to promote the benefits of measurement in PR practice. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in 28 countries, and the PRCA represents the UK public relations industry.

5. You have the power to make things happen.
If you would like to learn more, the ‘The PR Professionals Guide to Measurement’ is your go-to measurement resource.

  • This resource was launched by AMEC, ICCO, and the PRCA at the start of the AMEC summit. It helps PR professionals understand PR measurement, with an aim to encourage more PR professionals, working in consultancy and in-house, to regard PR measurement as an everyday task. It includes chapters from Ketchum’s European CEO David Gallagher and from Partner and Managing Director of Global Research, Dr. David B. Rockland.