EDITORIAL: In metrics, as in PR, proper use of information may be more important than just gathering it

Jack Bergen, Siemens' SVP of corporate affairs and marketing, has a way of distilling complex concepts down to their essence. That skill was in evidence at the Institute for Public Relations roundtable on measurement, which was conducted in association with PRWeek. A more detailed report on the meeting is located in the Analysis on p. 7 of this issue, but the discussion conducted among this group of senior corporate executives focused primarily on how metrics can be effectively used, rather than just on methodology.

Jack Bergen, Siemens' SVP of corporate affairs and marketing, has a way of distilling complex concepts down to their essence. That skill was in evidence at the Institute for Public Relations roundtable on measurement, which was conducted in association with PRWeek. A more detailed report on the meeting is located in the Analysis on p. 7 of this issue, but the discussion conducted among this group of senior corporate executives focused primarily on how metrics can be effectively used, rather than just on methodology.

Bergen identified the most significant applications of metrics. "Measurement really has three purposes," he said. "One is accountability, or call it justification. Another is decision-making and counsel, and the third is learning." He described a homegrown dashboard at Siemens that is used to identify trends and challenges facing the company, with a color-coded indicator of how the team is doing confronting it. Like a stoplight, red means there's a problem, amber demands attention, and green means things are OK. The point is to identify an issue, and decide on a course of action based on the three applications he mentioned. The ability to counsel better, based on research, is crucial. Bergen says that when a situation is "red," it creates an opportunity for his team to figure out how best to use this information in a meaningful way to advise the CEO and other senior executives. "To me the counseling part is so important," explains Bergen, "and it's important to get your staff to use measurement to talk with you and your real bosses about what this means." Knowing what to do with information is almost more important than having it. Bergen's comments, as well as the opinions of his peers around the table, all point to the same theme. Clear objectives should be determined when setting out a measurement program, just as they should be with any PR campaign. NYSE's new CEO faces a bevy of PR challenges The durability of Martha Stewart's brand in the face of the felony conviction has been a hot topic everywhere from the morning-show sofas to the mundane business pages. No surprise, as it's a company built seemingly by the force of will of one powerful personality. Meanwhile, over at the New York Stock Exchange, newly minted CEO John Thain is giving interviews to USA Today to shore up the reputation that was damaged by former brand manager Dick Grasso's bloated pay package. "[Grasso] was the public face of the NYSE, but also the public face of American capitalism," the reporter points out, asking if he would pursue a similar public profile. "It's important that the NYSE be the face of the American markets," he replied. "But it should, in fact, be the New York Stock Exchange." In other words, don't look for Thain to emerge as the personification of American capitalism. At the same time, he will be under pressure to embody the new spirit of "accountability to customers" that the NYSE is embracing. So far, the message seems to be getting through in interviews like these, but that's only one face of the challenge ahead.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.