I attended a PR Moment event on how to understand the metrics and insights for your C-suite last night.
There still seems to be a lot of angst among public and media relations experts around what metrics and insights work. It’s always worth keeping an eye on this subject buy I think the angst is now misplaced. This year, I’m judging PR work for the Association of Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) and for the last couple of years I’ve been a judge for PR Moment and in my view we’re getting better at the whole metrics and insight deal. The entries I’ve seen have represented client feedback, linked back to business objectives, looked to the future impact of PR initiatives, included bench-marking, prioritised practical action over theoretical navel-contemplation, included testing and live optimisation, and prioritised insightful outcomes.
There’s a difference between managing a PR operation and reporting on it. The C-suite will be interested in your contribution to delivering objectives, but also in what customers or stakeholders make of PR, the company, the product, the market, and the issues that matter to them. This latter point is even more important in times of uncertainty – like now.
You should measure the meaningful impact that your campaign is having. Consider outcomes not outputs and focus away from costs which simply reinforce an impression that PR is a cost centre.
Don’t be afraid of some qualitative metrics. The best approach to the C-suite will be a mix of both showing that you are on top of your operation while also offering insight and intelligence that can guide the top echelons of an organisation. Active listening is great.
Finally don’t go too far with the algebra. Tenuous means of calculating a contribution to the bottom line will fail. If you’ve got to explain your working and assumption to get to a number, that number won’t be believed. Beware those abstract definitions!