Posts filed under ‘PR evaluation’
This week, 15-19 September, 2014, a new week-long campaign has been launched to highlight the importance of measurement in communications by AMEC, the communication evaluation industry association.
I’ve been reviewing what handbooks and guides are available on communication evaluation – so far I’ve located five, here they are (all links to PDFs):
Communication Network (2008) Are we there yet? A Communications Evaluation Guide
DFID (2005). Monitoring and Evaluating Information and Communication for Development (ICD) Programmes – Guidelines. Department for International Development, London.
Slighty more specialised, but still interesting:
The Coalition for Public Relations Research Standards has just released their interim metrics (pdf) on PR research and measurement. They’ve split it by traditional media, social media, communications lifestyle and Return on Investment (ROI). For each metric, there is also more information available. I’m yet to go through all the information, but it seems like a comprehensive list – even if not all will agree on the different definitions, etc. Of interest, four major US corporations – GE, GM, McDonald’s USA and Southwest Airlines – reportedly have already adopted these metrics.
Here is a brand new article (it’s a chapter from a book*) by Fraser Likely and Tom Watson entitled “Measuring the Edifice – PR Measurement and Evaluation Practices Over the Course of 40 Years”.
It provides an excellent overview of developments in the last 40 years and the challenges currently faced in PR measurement and evaluation. A summary from the authors:
“Public relations measurement and evaluation practices have been major subjects for practitioners and academician research from the late 1970s onwards. This chapter will commence with a brief survey of the historical evolution of the research into these practices. Then, we will discuss James E. Grunig’s enduring contribution to their theorization, particularly with financial and non-financial indicators of public relations value. Next, we will consider the current debate on financial indicators, focusing on Return on Investment and alternative methods of financial vlauation. Finally, we will look to the future at the measurement and evaluation practices that will attract academic and practitioner research interest.”
*Note: Fraser and Tom’s chapter, “Measuring the Edifice: Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation Practice Over the Course of 40 Years (pp. 143-162)” comes from a “festschrift” (a celebratory book) for Professors Jim and Lauri Grunig – two renowned PR Gurus – which was edited by Professors Krishnamurthy Sriramesh and Ansgar Zerfass and Dr Jeong-Nam Kim. The book’s title is Public Relations and Communication Management: Current Trends and Emerging Topics. It is published by Routledge.
I’ve just had an article published in the journal PR Review. It’s the first article of my ongoing PhD on communication evaluation in intergovernmental organizations and NGOs. Below is the Abstract or if you are really keen you can download the full article below.
Evaluation of international and non-governmental organizations’ communication activities: A 15 year systematic review
The purpose of this paper is to understand how intergovernmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations have evaluated their communication activities and adhered to principles of evaluation methodology from 1995–2010 based on a systematic review of available evaluation reports (N = 46) and guidelines (N = 9). Most evaluations were compliant with principle 1 (defining communication objectives), principle 2 (combining evaluation methods), principle 4 (focusing on outcomes) and principle 5 (evaluating for continued improvement). Compliance was least with principle 3 (using a rigorous design) and principle 6 (linking to organizational goals). Evaluation was found not to be integrated, adopted widely or rigorously in these organizations.
For those interested in PR measurement, what is reassuring is the focus he puts on the need for the better use of data and measurement by agencies. I’m always surprised to see how little PR agencies do in measurement – so any more uptake of evaluation and measurement would be welcome.
Here is a summary of some key points:
- Big data at the center: Sufficient evidence suggests data and analytics can have a powerful effect on communications. There has been an incremental increase in the use of data to drive PR efforts, but the progression is minimal.
- Insight to drive meaningful creativity: Strong data will lead to better insights, giving way to creative PR ideas that effectively solve real world problems. Don’t assume your experience is enough to make a good campaign – use data.
- Understanding the human brain: To better understand how to change behaviors and attitudes, PR pros should read and listen to neuroscientists like David Eagleman. After all, PR is a social science.
- Recruiting differently: Practitioners who understand and even love data exist, but firms need to recruit a broader, more digestive range of people to find them. Seemingly unrelated disciplines should not be ruled out.
- Make it matter: To ensure communications efforts pay off in business terns, every campaign, every stakeholder group, and every advance in how we apply data and science can and should be measured.
Evaluation of communication activities of international and non-governmental organisations: A 15 year systematic review
As part of my PhD studies, I have undertaken a systematic review of how international and non-governmental organisations are evaluating their communication activities. I’m presenting a summary of this today at the European Evaluation Society Conference in Helsinki, Finland. Below are the slides, hope you find them interesting.