Hurrah! Barcelona Principles 2.0 Take a Fresh Look at PR Measurement – What Do They Mean for You?

AMECAMEC, the international Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, launched the Barcelona Principles 2.0 yesterday at Ketchum London. In case you’re unfamiliar, the Barcelona Principles are a framework for measuring the impact of communications activity – see this simple explainer by Ketchum London’s Chief Engagement Officer Stephen Waddington.

Past AMEC chairman and Ketchum colleague David Rockland took representatives of the measurement, agency and client communities through the ‘before and after’ sets of guidelines at yesterday’s event, and you can read about the 2.0 version, or watch David explain the Principles. (click-to-tweet)

Judging from the crowd’s reaction at our London office yesterday morning, the changes are seen as positive and substantial, without compromising the simplicity or brevity of the original set of principles.

So what does this mean for you, as a PR professional? How can we as practitioners help ensure this disciplined approach to measuring communications is widely applied, and that the value of our services is appropriately calculated?

A few thoughts:

  • Read them. Understand them. Never got around to 1.0? Start fresh now. You owe it to your career and employer to understand the basic framework of measurement for our industry, whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned veteran. (click-to-tweet)
  • Share them. If you work for an agency or in-house team, discuss how to apply the principles to your recommendations and work. If you work for a client, ask your agencies to consider how they can be used to improve their service to you, and include those that apply in your briefs to agencies.
  • Procurement! If your organization procures the services of PR agencies or media monitoring and measurement companies through a purchasing department, encourage them to understand and apply the principles to future contracts.
  • Modify awards competitions to reflect the language of the principles. Sponsors and organizers of the many PR awards competitions can update their criteria referring to the new framework.
  • Adopt the framework as standard in your markets. There are more than 30 national agency trade associations around the world and an almost equal number of professional bodies, and literally hundreds of both at the local and regional levels. Bring the framework forward as a priority for your organization.
  • Integrate. PR is usually only one of the ways organizations connect with the world, and it’s hard to measure our results in isolation. Let’s work with colleagues from advertising, public affairs, internal communications and other disciplines to make sure we are working from a shared perspective in designing and implementing our activities.
  • Celebrate success. Principles are good, but outcomes are great. Share your stories of how better planning and more careful measurement improved the quality of your work and its impact. AMEC and ICCO are working on ways to make sharing success easy. Stay tuned.
  • Connect the dots and start thinking about the next version. Much progress has been made in codifying basic measurement standards for the PR industry, but much remains to be done. Let’s look for connections between great PR results and — forgive me — “real world” improvements in business, public policy, health and safety, volunteering, talent recruitment and engagement, and all of the endeavors good PR can support.

Not only is Ketchum an early adopter of the Principles, but I’m connected to the framework through past work I’ve done with AMEC and as chairman of the international PR agency federation/framework endorser, ICCO – so it may go without saying I’m all in favor of a new set of guidelines. Much has changed since the original “Barcelona Principles” were introduced in 2010. The 2.0 version gives us a fresh opportunity to discuss the real value of strategic PR activity with clients and our partners in marketing communications.