Ketchum Client Q&A with Ben Levine

June 11, 2013

Ketchum client Q&A with Ben Levine, research director from Ketchum’s measurement team.

Q: How can I measure the value of PR within my company?

A: “Freddie Mercury says it all:  ‘Barcelona’…

The Barcelona Principles are a globally recognised set of measurement standards that underpin the way we work. They represent a seismic shift away from the old-school way of ‘advertising value equivalents’ (AVEs) towards a more robust and targeted ‘outcome-led’ demonstration of the power of PR.

Rigour rather than ‘reach’

Traditionally, PR was measured in terms of ‘reach’ and given a financial worth based on AVEs – ie – what the space achieved would cost to buy, often multiplied by a factor to allow for editorial weighting.  But this is a lazy means of measuring PR and doesn’t represent the value that PR delivers for your business.

The need for a more thorough, robust, and accurate way of measuring PR has resulted in the Barcelona Principles of PR Measurement – a framework  being adopted across the PR industry.

Outcome, not output

One of the main elements is to look at the outcomes of a campaign, rather than just the outputs and this means not only coverage and reach, but also message communication, audience understanding and action.

Take our work with a major snack company in the United States.  We help the company track, measure and evaluate PR-driven and organic coverage against its business objectives and campaign goals. Not only do we record the number of impressions and placements, but we also track overall quality, such as brand sentiment, media tier, and key messages. This gives the company valid key performance indicators (KPIs) to benchmark success, adjust tactics (as necessary) and report back to the business.

Bottom line impact

Measuring outcomes enables your communications team to demonstrate the real value of your campaign and its impact on your bottom line.

So the next time you’re discussing KPIs with your PR team, or being asked, “Did we get our money’s worth?” by procurement, make sure you have the evidence of outcomes rather than just outputs so that, crucially, you can demonstrate that these really mean something to you and your head of finance.

Read more about the Barcelona Principles:

http://www.ketchumperspectives.com/archives/2010_i4/Barcelona_Principles_Public_Relations_Measurement/Overview/

Ben Levine is a Research Director with Ketchum’s Global Research & Analytics team in London. Ben counsels, designs and leads research, measurement and evaluation projects with a focus on PR and communications and has worked with clients from the banking, consumer electronics, lifestyle, corporate, and bio-technology sectors. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter @benclevine