Work underway on revolutionary evaluation tool

NEW YORK: Key players in the PRSA Counselors Academy have started work on a new product to measure and evaluate the impact of PR.

NEW YORK: Key players in the PRSA Counselors Academy have started work on a new product to measure and evaluate the impact of PR.

The product, which will be unveiled at the PRSA's next International Conference in Anaheim next October, is described by Amanda Brown-Olmstead, the chair of the Academy, as 'the single most important piece of work we can do for the PR profession.'

'For our profession to reach its potential we must capture and consistently apply techniques that measure the strengths of our clients' relationships with their stakeholders, as well as the impact that PR practices have on the reputation of our clients.'

Research into the product is being carried out by a crack team, which includes PR measurement guru Pat Jackson of Jackson & Jackson, and Tom Hoog, president and CEO of Hill & Knowlton US.

The cost is being met by the academy, although the final product will be sold to the profession. It is not clear exactly what form the package will take: 'it may be a training program, a workbook or a CD-Rom' said Brown-Olmstead. 'It could be all three.'

However, it is clear the method of measurement will go way beyond traditional PR evaluation techniques.

'We can do so much better than measuring column inches or impressions,' said Hoog. 'We need to measure our impact on a client's reputation, brands and bottom line.'

Hoog didn't think there had to be a rigid universal system of measurement, but stressed the need for a universal approach. 'If we can come up with a measurement that goes way above and beyond column inches, it will demonstrate the true value of the profession. I think it would put us on a new level.'.

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