November – AMEC’s official international measurement month – has brought the PR industry together to share knowledge, reflect on how far we’ve come and look at what we can improve on as we move into the new year.
Measurement month has seen a whole host of events run across the globe so, I thought now would be a great time to take stock and share what our approach to measurement is here at Fourth Day.
What are we measuring for?
As an industry, we’re all moving away from seeing measurement as an insurance policy. Measuring our work shouldn’t simply be viewed as a way to prove what we’ve been doing – ‘see look, we did what we said we would!’ While this is reassuring and helpful for us and the client, this kind of reporting doesn’t tell the company and its marketing team anything new.
Measurement is about insight: What has worked? What hasn’t? Do more people know about the company – should they? Are they the right people? Why did we run a campaign, and was it worth it? Public Relations is about relaying and relating a brand’s key messages to its audiences, not flinging information out and hoping it sticks.
PR is a constant learning experience and should be about building relationships and reputation: circular not linear. Everything we do for our clients should logically inform the next activity in a meaningful way. Data should form the basis of action, not simply bulk out a review slide or activity report.
Working with our clients
To this end, measurement will always work best when we’re working with rather than simply for our clients. A collaborative, shared approach to measurement means that the conclusions we can draw are far more insightful.
At Fourth Day we’re increasingly demanding more from our prospective clients when it comes to access to data and sharing information, because we need it in order to develop a strategy moving forward. Without true insights, this can become more like guesswork.
Singing from the same hymn sheet
PRs have struggled for years to effectively measure their efforts and demonstrate the true value of PR to their clients. Like other agencies, Fourth Day spent a number of years trying to create our own measurement framework in order to solve this problem.
The trouble with every agency having a unique measuring system, however, is that clients have no comparable means by which to measure agencies against each other – nor a way to measure PR investments against other marketing activities. This is where the AMEC framework comes in.
AMEC is helpful for both us and our clients because it creates an industry standard and provides agencies with an effective, transparent way to demonstrate all the ways in which we are providing value. Using this kind of framework means we can track our activities – what we did, or our outputs – what we produced and sent out to the media and most importantly, the business impact of the overall campaign. When you have a measurement tool in place from the off, it becomes much easier to gain insights into what worked, what didn’t and why.
This is especially true when pure media coverage isn’t the aim of the game, which is true of most campaigns in the digital age. Come 2019, agencies that aren’t looking to implement this framework will get left behind.
Trusting in the value of PR
Public Relations is one of the best marketing tools a brand can utilise, but we have to be able to prove it. While it has been said many times that some things ‘simply cannot be measured’ – creating a mystical air around PR – the truth is that effective measurement can be achieved. It just doesn’t always happen. And as was argued at the AMEC event we attended in London recently, there’s no excuse for this anymore. While measuring some things may cost both time and money, real insights will always require co-operation with our clients. As with most things, a collaborative approach is where success lies.
Nikki is a director and co-founder of Fourth Day