Comparing notes on PR measurement

As previously mentioned, I spent yesterday at the 5th Annual Summit on Measurement, hosted by the Institute for Public Relations (the Summit actually started on...

As previously mentioned, I spent yesterday at the 5th Annual Summit on Measurement, hosted by the Institute for Public Relations (the Summit actually started on Wednesday and continues through today). The takeaway from the conference is that there are still a ton of variables that make it difficult to accurately assess the affect and ROI of PR efforts, most notably, the ever-changing and dynamic nature of social media.

Dr. Jim Macnamara from the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia talked about his theories of integrated measurement, which not only takes social media into account, but also cultural factors and the fact that people are both producers and consumers of media. Deep interviews coupled with experiments and social media mapping are some of his answers.

Chris Frank, senior director of corporate market research at Microsoft along with Andrew Bernstein, president of their measurement partner, Cymfony, talked about Microsoft's new media measurement system, rolled out on October 1. Microsoft identified the problem of "lots of counting, not a lot of evaluating." Their system, the PR Index Scoring Model, seeks to take the mountain of PR coverage they receive and assign one number that will both sum up the effectiveness and impact of PR, and allow the company to analyze their PR strategy. Some of the questions their metrics take into account - Are we getting desired buzz? What's the impact on the target?

Overall, the day may have been summed up best by Shel Israel, a panelist speaking on the topic "How to measure the impact of blogs and other consumer-generated media": "There are no best practices yet. We're only in the 'good idea' stage." The panel was full of good ideas - attach weight to links, look at time spent on a site - but otherwise couldn't come to a consensus on just about anything.

Final tidbit, Jonathan Low from CCW made a presentation called "What price reputation?" Their research shows that reputation becomes more important the closer the industry is to the consumer. And it appears "innovation" doesn't make as large of an impact as you may think. Some reasons from the audience - innovation is an elusive concept, an innovative company today is a has-been tomorrow, "innovation" has been sucked of meaning.

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