PR Measurement – Generally Accepted Practices Study

June 19, 2006 at 7:07 am Leave a comment

An interesting study has been released by the USC Annenberg Strategic Public Relations Center based in California, USA. The “Generally Accepted Practices” study focuses on budgeting, staffing, evaluation and the use of agencies by communication professionals. Some 500 US-based communication professionals responded to the study survey.

An interesting result of the study is the top three evaluation methodologies used by professionals:

1- Influence on corporate reputation
2-Content Analysis of Clips
3-Influence on employee attitudes

The first result is interesting as although there has been methodologies developed on measuring corporate reputation (notably by the Reputation Institute), there is no generally accepted metric on how communication activities “influence” reputation, as the authors of the study point out. What would be interesting to know is how exactly do the professionals assess the influence of their activities on corporate reputation? Active monitoring, comparison studies (to other potential influences), research/analysis or simple intuition?

The reliance on clips is not surprising, but worrying as the authors point out:

“Despite much discussion and debate, evaluation methods have not advanced beyond various forms of content analysis, which is another way of measuring outputs rather than outcomes. The authors suggest that while content analysis is the state of the media measurement art, it ignores all other public relations functions, thereby reinforcing the notion that PR is nothing more than publicity and media relations. This does a disservice to the increasingly sophisticated and complex nature of the profession. Clearly much more work remains to be done in the field of evaluation.”

Thanks to metricsman blog for bringing this study to my attention, where on this post he also makes an interesting analysis on the results.


Entry filed under: Communication evaluation, Evaluation tools (surveys, interviews..), PR evaluation.

Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Methods for Evaluation – Part 2 Special issue focusing on public relations measurement and evaluation

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