By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude
Let me continue with more thoughts from the August 10 webinar hosted by Thompson Reuters and the Bulldog Reporter on “2010 PR Measurement Practices.” The full webinar audio content and slides remain live as of today.
The second half of the webinar featured comments from Frank Ovaitt, EVP of Makowsky + Company, and questions fielded by moderator Jon Greer. The highlights, as I interpret them:
- Measurement Building Blocks — Mr. Ovaitt began his presentation with a slide entitled, “Measurement Isn’t the Starting Point.” It listed four “building blocks” for developing the metrics used to measure the performance of a public relations program — how well or poorly. The four components are: Foundational Research, Benchmarking & Best Practices, Formative Research and Measurement & Evaluation.I’ll have some insight to share later, but I was impressed with a comment from Mr. Ovaitt. And, I paraphrase: “Too many in public relations use research as a ‘report card.’ We should use it as a GPS to guide us to do better.”
- Measurement Declarations Make Sense — Some brief commentary was made regarding the Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles, a set of seven standards designed to guide how public relations is measured. The standards were created during the Second European Summit on Measurement, which was held in June of this year in — you guessed it — Barcelona, Spain! Five leading industry bodies, including the Public Relations Society of America (I’m a proud member), participated in the summit.Read the seven Principles and make your own assessment of their value and validity. I think they all are spot on, with number seven being especially poignant: “Transparency and replicability are paramount to sound measurement.” Note: Is “replicability” a real word?
- Q & A Was Just Okay — Participants had the opportunity to pose questions via email to the panelists. Frankly, a lot of the questions were time-wasters and perfunctory. Here’s an example: “C-suite was referred to extensively throughout the webinar. What does it mean?” Earlier in the webinar, the representative from Southwest Airlines had to define S.M.A.R.T. goals — twice.Really? Someone couldn’t ascertain from the nature of the conversation who comprises the “C-suite” at a company? Not to come on as being snarky (that is a word), but perhaps the person posing the question could have googled the answer.
And now, my thoughts:
- I’m a full supporter of furthering public relations measurement practices through effective research. But I subscribe to the belief that there are two basic types of research: Primary (what you initiate on your own) and Secondary (how you use research conducted by others). With all due respect to Mr. Ovaitt, do we really need to put research into other categories like “Foundational” and “Formative?”
- The Barcelona Declarations obviously were the product of some really smart people. I’ve never been to Barcelona, but I’m sure it’s a spectacular place to visit. Just wonder why participating groups like the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communications (AMEC) and others decided to use the city name as part of the name for their guidelines.
- No disrespect to those who offered questions during the webinar. But I maintain it’s best to use situations like this to pose insightful questions, those that make the panelists offer an opinion or explanation. And, granted, there were some better questions, like one posed on tools available to provide a rating to print articles. But in this increasingly search-engine-driven world, answers to a lot of stuff are a few keystrokes away.