A public relations evaluation expert claims to have developed a way of isolating the effect of PR within a marketing campaign.
The tool used to do this is Manning Selvage and Lee's I to I Tracker, a new product for evaluating PR campaigns. I to I stands for impact and influence.
The Tracker calculates the reach and recall of a PR campaign by quizzing audiences on whether they have seen media coverage on certain products or issues, in large omnibus surveys.
This method is based on the principle of evaluation used by the advertising industry to measure a campaign's impact. I to I's creator Claire Spencer says she has proven the validity of recall as a measure.
In essence, it means an audience can be broken down into those who are 'PR aware', with their likelihood to respond to the messages then recorded.
Spencer, MS&L director of planning, spent two years developing I to I Tracker. She has a background in advertising, and worked in the 1980s on some of the evaluation methods which are used today.
Spencer has calculated through the I to I Tracker the return on investment (linked to household product sales) of a PR campaign can be as high as pounds 16 per pounds 1 spent. For advertising campaigns, the average return is pounds 1.16 per pounds 1.
She said: 'At first I was worried the research might reveal that PR didn't work.'
- Manning Selvage and Lee has won a consumer and business-to-business brief from Eastern Energy, retail arm of TXU Europe, the gas and electricity supplier. The brief is to help Eastern Energy retain customers in the domestic energy market.