The need to measure PR is broadly realized, but the ability to do so effectively eludes many. Guidance was provided by the experts who joined Gideon Fidelzeid in New York at this BurrellesLuce-hosted roundtable.
Johna Burke, EVP, BurrellesLuce
Lisa Binzel, VP of comms and measurement analytics, Edelman Berland
Norman Booth, VP, Coyne PR
Julia Cartwright, SVP of comms, Legacy
Michelle Gordon, VP of insights, Catalyst
Marguerite Marston, commercial PR manager, Ikea US
Michael Neuwirth, senior director of PR, The Dannon Company
Eileen Sheil, executive director, corporate comms, Cleveland Clinic
Mark Weiner, CEO, Prime Research
Insight in action
Gideon Fidelzeid (PRWeek): An ultimate goal of measurement is to glean insights, but how do you convert that intelligence into something that bolsters a PR initiative?
Michelle Gordon (Catalyst): An insight should reveal a deep understanding of consumer attitudes and help a brand intersect itself with something it can offer consumers to change their behavior. It also needs to inspire all marketing disciplines.
Michael Neuwirth (Dannon): Insights must be actionable in a manner that becomes a catalyst for change, particularly a business outcome that's desired.
Mark Weiner (Prime Research): Insights are a human outcome. We're in a time now when technology drives a lot of data, but that doesn't necessarily mean it derives insight. Technology is fast and consistent, but pretty stupid until you add the brilliance and insights only people can provide.
Norman Booth (Coyne PR): The sustainability of measurement is critical to driving insight. Measuring over the course of one year may be interesting, but accumulated information over a longer period can be acted on.
Marguerite Marston (Ikea): If you aren't committed to continue measuring over time, it's just a blip on the radar. It doesn't tell you how effective you've been, nor does it help you adjust programs.
Eileen Sheil (Cleveland Clinic): We're trying to figure out a little more about what people think of us. We're doing some reputation research now, which is important because we want to know and shape opinions even more in patient populations who will travel for care.
Johna Burke (BurrellesLuce): In the how-to spirit of this discussion, the best way to achieve insights is to listen. Many people have key messages and a specific idea of what they are measuring against, but there are other key messages and themes evident in the coverage these companies receive. You must bridge that gap, find that happy medium, and understand how to leverage it.When we continue to stay at the tactical level and make sure we're giving those good tips, listening is definitely the first thing.
Lisa Binzel (Edelman Berland): One of the things I was taught early in my career was to ask “So what?” You're looking at all kinds of data, mountains of data. A good way to pick through it all to get actionable insight is to ask, “So what?” If you can't come up with anything meaningful, move on to the next piece of data. My rule: ask “So what?” three times for every piece of data to determine what it is trying to tell you.
Julia Cartwright (Legacy): We're at the beginning of a digital gold rush. Everyone is out there with sifters, trying to determine what's dirt and what's gold. Legacy's team constantly goes through data – tweets, blog posts, something on traditional media – for those consumer insights that will help frame what we can do to get outcomes.
Gordon (Catalyst): To bring it all back together, the insight is that connector between the business objective and your ideas and communications strategy. It always must be tied back to those business objectives.
The enormity of data
Fidelzeid (PRWeek): The term “Big Data” indicates an overwhelming amount of information. How do PR pros best handle this daunting challenge?
Weiner (Prime): It's about outcomes and outputs – outputs being news coverage or activities and outcomes being behaviors – and the combination of the two. For example, surveys will tell you what is and isn't important among your target audience. As you continue to measure, you can look at all this big data in terms of what's important and not important among your target audience.For example, through media analysis you can identify areas where you are uniquely strong in places where clients find value, which gives you actionable insight that tells you to keep doing it. If you're doing poorly on something, it's actionable, too, because you must fix it. If everybody is doing poorly on things that are important, somebody must find the opportunity to make a difference.
Just knowing what's more and less important and then measuring everything else against what your target audience considers to be most and least important reveals actionable guidance that should reflect itself in objectives, strategy tactics, and later on through evaluation.
Booth (Coyne): There is a ton of data out there, but until the infrastructure is really built for PR to look at data, analyze it, and derive insight over time, we're still thinking of it on a more conceptual than practical level.
Weiner (Prime): Social media is changing the game, though. Suddenly, we have a cascade of content and PR is responsible for social, so you have a lot more data than what PR has had traditionally. That's become a game changer for PR within the marketing and communications mix.
Sheil (Cleveland Clinic): I hired an analyst who understands data better than us right-brainers. We looked at it all and asked, “What are we missing and how can we supplement it?” We then started doing reputation research and layered all that data together to look at our demographics, psychographics, and attitudes of current and potential patients. We didn't realize how much data we had nor what to do with it until recently.
Gordon (Catalyst): There are various tools now that help aggregate and pull data into meaningful reports from which you can glean actionable insights. It's still very much in its infancy, but you can search for things that are important, identify key influencers, and understand where people are talking about your brand.Big Data in terms of social media can be mined and honed for actionable insights to inform strategies. Just keeping a pulse on what consumers are talking about is really important in the PR space. It helps you understand what is relevant to your consumers and what they are talking about.
Neuwirth (Dannon): I'm not sure we're capturing all the data out there. It's more like we're watching the river flow and seeing the direction it's going, but not looking at it on a molecular level. Perhaps we're not using the term “Big Data” appropriately when we're talking about it in the context of PR today.
Cartwright (Legacy): The numbers are so big people tend to mistrust them, and that includes data that has revealed the huge ROI PR can bring. Of course, the PR people are the first ones consulted to glean insights from any negative feedback. It's a fascinating dichotomy about Big Data.
Marston (Ikea): The numbers certainly are big and will only grow. For example, the media impressions for our annual catalogue right now are six times what they were last year, which were twice as big as the year before.
Gordon (Catalyst): The evolving media landscape plays a role here, too. There are so many different places for your media to be shown to consumers. It's crucial to identify the target outlets where consumers get their information.The whole universe of coverage is so enormous now, if it's not reaching the right people with the right message, are those impressions really relevant? What is the quality of those impressions? They may be six times what they were, but are they six times as powerful? Are they six times as meaningful? We've worked hard for all our brands to develop target outlets so that we really understand where our consumers are getting their information.
Burke (BurrellesLuce): By understanding the targeted media, you can identify a correlation between the larger information set and that qualified information set. For example, someone might be influential about finance, but that doesn't mean they're influential about your product, offering, or division.That qualitative level of truly understanding what influence means in that moment to your audience is so relevant. By understanding that qualitative layer, you can identify that correlation and then report on it in a much more empowering way than you could with just the raw data.
Weiner (Prime): What makes PR a special asset for Big Data mining is that it brings context. A survey can tell you something at a point in time, but the media analysis can tell you why you had a spike in sales. For a beverage company, that rise could be attributed to the warm summer months, but it could also be something in the news. That would help explain what's happening through the Big Data.
Booth (Coyne): That's why sustainability of these measures is so critical. That implies support from your corporate sources for funding and all these things that go into sustaining measurement. It changes from year to year to some extent, but if you can get a company to commit at the senior most levels to continue that kind of commitment to measure, you're only going to be better off in the long run.
Implicitly and explicitly speaking
Fidelzeid (PRWeek): How do explicit and implicit data work best together? Can you provide examples?
Weiner (Prime): You need them both. To get implicit data, you first must have the explicit data upon which to draw these insights. It just depends on the given situation as to which one will provide the biggest revelations, but you need both.
Sheil (Cleveland Clinic): We know how many patients come from different states, but when we think of PR strategy, are we better off targeting the states that have a high volume of patients that already come? Or do we want to target the states that have fewer patients traveling to Cleveland for care? When we dig deeper into the reasons people travel it helps us drive our strategy. For sure, though, we need both.
Gordon (Catalyst): Our annual fan engagement study surveys sports fans about how they follow their favorite stars, teams, and leagues in the digital space. What channels are they using? Why, when, and how?The explicit data is the proof that these are the channels fans are using. The “so what?” has to come from a multitude of different sources explicitly to consumers. It's their own experiences. It's third party reports. It's soliciting on social media, which is a good implicit data stream, especially when it comes to trends in pop culture and understanding what's hot and what's not.
Cartwright (Legacy): We struggle every day with apathy around tobacco, particularly with those who are not among the 44 million Americans who smoke. To engage the whole population on this topic, we're always trying to connect the dots to other issues people care about. Implicit data helps us glean where we can go next.For example, people who care about the environment probably don't care so much about smoking until they start to realize that cigarette butts are the most-littered item in the nation. They're toxic and not biodegradable. The data showed us that if we could just get to people who really care about the environment we could create a whole new conversation with a huge swath of Americans who could help change knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs. They could continue to push social norms on this topic.
Weiner (Prime): My case study is for a client, MasterCard. Explicit data was showing negative activity through Twitter focused on its Mobile Money offering, where you can hold up your phone and it acts as a charge card. As we dug deeper, the content of those tweets indicated more confusion than broad negativity. In fact, many folks were excited about the offering and it was the people who had tried it who were more critical than the ones who hadn't. Focusing even deeper on those who tried it, we found the concerns stemmed greatly from data security. Additionally, there was confusion among merchants about how to accept and process this mobile payment.
The implicit data proved really interesting because it wasn't just the communications outcome. Our data was presented to product development to help shape the offering and through marketing to create special education programs with the two merchants that have the biggest challenges with Mobile Money – taxi drivers and fast-food employees – so they would learn how to accept and process it.
Marston (Ikea): We are always very concerned about the intersection between what we communicate out and what consumers experience at the store level. There shouldn't be any disconnect. And all the data you accumulate up front can help you develop products, services, or experiences for your consumer. And so much of that vital insight comes from data collected through the PR stream.
The social dilemma
Fidelzeid (PRWeek): Social media is limitless. How do you measure it most effectively?
Gordon (Catalyst): It starts with understanding what you're using social media for. What are the business objectives, KPIs, and communications goals? You must begin there to understand what you want to measure.
Binzel (Edelman Berland): Clients will get really scared about the idea and often ask, “I'm already doing traditional, online, and broadcast. Now you want me to do social?” As counselors, we must gently nudge them to understand that social is a different vehicle for getting messages out.It's baby steps. The first one is determining what they are more concerned about – their own properties or how they're being positioned in broader social media? If they can start there and figure that out, that's the first step. Then hopefully they'll hunger for more.
Sheil (Cleveland Clinic): We try to focus on quality while our marketing counterparts tend to focus more on quantity. We're trying to determine what the conversation is and who follows us. We recently did an audit of our Twitter followers and found a lot of it is spam. We don't want people to follow us if they don't have a following we care about.
Weiner (Prime): We're in the midst of what I would call a third wave of measurement for media. The first wave, which is still present and valuable, is everything for traditional media analysis, particularly human coded. It's very accurate and insightful, but takes a lot of time.The second wave came with the emergence of social media and facilitated a rush to real time. It was fast and consistent, but neither as accurate nor as insightful. The third wave brings a balance of both – the speed and consistency of technology with the accuracy and insight that can come from human analysis.
Booth (Coyne): The recent frenzy around Miley Cyrus and the MTV Video Music Awards is a great case study. CNN was on it immediately, built a series of photos from the event itself, and kept building out all these properties it could leverage on eyeballs. When people first went to CNN's website, they saw Cyrus doing her thing. Then came pictures of Will Smith's family in utter shock. Then other images were added.People were easily spending 15 or 20 minutes on the site. The editor, who in theory has a responsibility to report news, seemed to be driving eyeballs, ad revenue, and all the other metrics you measure success with through CNN.com. It was a huge win.
You saw it all over broadcast media, but how that translated to online and social and how that's been measured in relatively traditional ways, how much time people are spending on the site, where they're going from site to site following the story is going to pay back CNN in ridiculous ways.
Neuwirth (Dannon): That's a perfect example of extending the value chain from something you don't control, such as Miley Cyrus, to something you can control, which is eyeballs on your site and when and where you want to place them across the business operation.
Sheil (Cleveland Clinic): Many of our patients want to be part of groups, so we do a lot of Twitter chats. We'll bring in influential people, whether from the media or from the National Institutes of Health. We try to engage our patients in meaningful conversations about what's important to them.
Neuwirth (Dannon): This brings to mind another question: how do we bring predictability to our social media management and measurement?
Burke (BurrellesLuce): Talking about social in a silo is where people get derailed. Social is really a megaphone of everything else that's happening.And when we talk about social, it's one of the most predictable vehicles because we're talking about humans. If we have that really clear profile of who your customer is, of who the target market is, they're more predictable, even on social, than some of the other vehicles, such as traditional media. In the latter case, you're trying to ramp up and educate someone who doesn't have a vested interest in something. They've just been told they have to write about something.
Gordon (Catalyst): Social creates great opportunities for brands to change the conversation or join it quickly because you can monitor everything in real time.That's the other great thing about social and PR and how it works with the rest of your marketing efforts. It is real time, so you're able to change as things are happening if you can organically join these conversations.
Cartwright (Legacy): My organization has three major brands – Legacy, Truth, and our EX campaign that helps smokers quit.Truth is laser focused on 12- to 17-year-olds. The past decade has seen a huge shift in how those kids consume media. We used to reach them primarily through MTV and publications they read. Today we have a huge presence on the YOMYOMF network (You Offend Me, You Offend My Family).
However, monitoring is tricky. If you try to monitor on social for Truth, it could be the Heart Truth campaign. You need that human element to sift through what's actually coverage for our campaigns as opposed to someone else's.
Sheil (Cleveland Clinic): We actually have two overlapping target markets. There are the couples who make decisions about their families, but they also influence where their parents go for care. Their parents are more traditional media users, where the younger target focuses more on social media. Trying to figure out how to get that same message to go to both audiences, but through a lot of different vehicles, is complicated. Measuring it is even more complex.
Burke (BurrellesLuce): Digital experts know how to communicate that seamless message on social. They're kind of that Rosetta Stone of what the corporation is trying to do and what's the best vehicle to magnify that with the audience they want to reach.
Weiner (Prime): Michael's question about predictability is interesting and made me think of two things. One is PR's eternal challenge of trying to be proactive, but being forced to be reactive. Reacting to events seems to consume so much time, PR pros don't have enough time to be proactive.The second thought comes back to the topic of research. With enough data and enough context by tracking competitors and your own brands you can start to see what's more likely and less likely to work. You can also see not only what works in traditional or social, but in the marketplace. Then you start to have more levers to pull and push and with that you can also create what-if scenarios and play them out.
Booth (Coyne): You can also see how accurate that is over time and then begin to draw a line of confidence. If you invest a certain amount, you can be 95% sure you will achieve the goal the model says you will. That's the beauty of doing this on a sustained basis. It becomes more predictable.
Marston (Ikea): The commitment to measurement also helped us see when channels we invested in were not paying off. Through market mix modeling, we could also determine whether or not to shift our dollars to other areas and platforms that have proven successful for other disciplines. Our decision-making has been impacted tremendously by measuring social media.
Fidelzeid (PRWeek): Measurement costs money and PR teams typically have smaller budgets. How do you effectively determine the cash investment?
Weiner (Prime): One of the first questions to ask is, “What's at stake?” I tell clients to look at the ramifications of not investing and what that would cost the company, not just to determine the right amount to spend.
There are so many cases of crisis that could have been mitigated through PR and having real-time monitoring. Some extra intelligence might have helped companies navigate in a way that could have at least minimized the cost, the real cost. There's two ways to look at it: what's the right amount to spend, but also what's the cost of not spending.
My suggestion to people is that you should begin simply, but simply begin and then continue. I'd rather be partially right than totally in the dark. Beginning simply is one way to do that. It doesn't require a whole lot of investment at first. Cost shouldn't be an obstacle.
Binzel (Edelman Berland): Numerous clients started small and, in many cases, the methodology we presented to them about our data became key. There's nothing better than having coached your client to stand up in front of the room of whatever executives he or she is presenting the data to and say we did this and this. They'll often see what you did and then ask about what you did not do.In the past year, two clients did that and I left with a commitment to increase my measurement budget to look at things they didn't ask for before.
Another client is getting ready to renew their program and has received commitment from the board because they see what we're doing and want to make it bigger. To Mark's point, simply starting and starting simply can sometimes pay big dividends when you're presenting the data to the right people.
Gordon (Catalyst): Every budget can support some type of measurement. We recently did some analysis for a client about three of its brands. They said, “You can do that for this, this, and this brand?” They didn't understand the power of having information. And if you can start giving them information, it totally leads them on the path of wanting more and more.For many clients, we start by suggesting that if they can't afford to look at all the print and broadcast outlets, just look online. It may not be the entire universe of data, but you can definitely see patterns. You can see share of voice compared to competitors. So many projects have grown from there. With online media and all the different vendors to mine it, it's a cost-effective place to start.
Burke (BurrellesLuce): To effectively evaluate this, you need a basic understanding of price versus cost, as well as an understanding that there is a cost for everything. You have a quality baseline you're looking at. If you want to report up on any data and don't have a good baseline of how that's being processed, there's a much larger cost to your organization than the price you would have paid to have something done.Step one is being a good businessperson. You need to understand the real cost of something. You need to grasp all of the factors that play into the budgeting of measurement beyond just a price or what the dollar amount is and make sure you're taking all of those pieces and assessing them.
Sheil (Cleveland Clinic): With a particular story that hit the news cycle one recent evening, we had our call and cancer centers ask everyone who called in that night where they heard about the Cleveland Clinic. We received 20 calls from 19 different states by the next morning. All made appointments with us.When I told our CEO this one story generated this much business, he was blown away. Measurement helped us tie PR to business results.
There was another example around experimental treatment on patients with walnut-size brain tumors that were otherwise inoperable. We reached out to the call center at the neurological institute. After the story aired, we had 1,128 phone calls within 24 hours, including people that said, “I don't have a brain tumor, but I have cancer. If you can do that, I'm coming to Cleveland.”
We tracked it to 250 actual patient appointments that came out of one story that was four minutes long. Moreover, half of the video was supplemented by our team for the network who couldn't fly to Cleveland because they didn't have a budget.
For clients, people like me, capturing the value of PR and tying it directly to the business is so critical. One thing I learned at this year's AMEC European Summit on Measurement is that we don't want PR to be perceived as something that simply gets a great story. You have to tie it to the business.
Booth (Coyne): As communications becomes more integrated, the opportunity to leverage relationships across an organization to begin this process should be greater. If you don't have the budget for measurement, connect with those in marketing who might have a bigger budget and see what can be leveraged there.
Sheil (Cleveland Clinic): Our marketing team has long been surveying where people heard about the Cleveland Clinic. Responses often cited television and that was chalked up to advertising. We then suggested the question be split to find out if people meant ads or news stories. The result: a 100% shift in responses to indicate news stories. PR pros must insert themselves in the business conversation. Understanding metrics is a key part.
Cartwright (Legacy): We often do a campaign around New Year's resolutions. For two years, we worked with Pfizer to look at the conversations patients were having with their physicians. Often, smokers are embarrassed to ask for help.Using the information we gleaned from a survey leading up to New Year's, we did the traditional SMT. We took our findings and added them into our social media mix. As a result of all the coverage, our EX website saw a huge spike in visitors.
Weiner (Prime): All of these stories underscore another key factor in the cost conversation – the efficiency driven through research. SMTs cost money. Research can make that investment much more productive by identifying where that video and message should appear.
There are many examples of how an investment in research drives efficiency and commonly offsets the entire cost of the research. It's just about how you apply it.
Neuwirth (Dannon): We're presently doing influencer campaigns related to improving the American diet, ideally to include yogurt more. Messages we thought would resonate with these influencers were not quite right. By optimizing these messages we can change the outcome of the PR campaign's efficiency, but measurement needs to be up front in the planning process. It's simply smart business because it helps avoid wasting a lot of money in activation costs that won't be useful.
Gordon (Catalyst): Some evidence should be at the heart of all your decision-making, too. The back-end learning needs to be reapplied to developing better, more sustainable programs.
Moving the needle
Fidelzeid (PRWeek): Two main goals of PR measurement are gaining intelligence to improve programs and demonstrating PR's value to the C-suite. Please offer an example of how measurement served either purpose for your company or client.
Q&A: The journey continues
About three years ago, Ikea US began to measure its communications activity in earnest, with commercial PR manager Marguerite Marston playing an integral role. Marston spoke with PRWeek managing editor Gideon Fidelzeid about how and why Ikea's measurement journey began; how metrics have helped her team cement its value to the C-suite; and how data has secured PR's place in the integrated mix.
Gideon Fidelzeid: Think back about three years to when Ikea started on it's “measurement journey.” Why did you embark on it? What issues were you hoping to address?
Marguerite Marston: First and foremost, we are still on the journey. It's very much a learning journey about measurement and how we can use it to help grow our business and inform the decisions we make.
A few years ago, my first CMO simply told me, “Just get buzz. Don't worry about what it is.” No measurement was necessary. My current CMO, who came in about three years ago, is much more business-focused. I looked at my other marketing colleagues and they were all measuring what they were doing, but I wasn't.
That led me to speak to my agency partner at Ketchum. I sought a better way to measure. It was really about trying to find a more specific way to share the results of what PR does with my colleagues and farther up in the C-suite.
Fidelzeid: What was the first a-ha moment on your measurement journey?
Marston: About three years ago, we took part in a big integrated project. We were having a round-up meeting of all of our agencies where they shared their results from what they had contributed to this project. I looked at our number of impressions in comparison to what was bought in terms of paid impressions. Ours were greater. That was a big a-ha.
Fidelzeid: Many find Big Data overwhelming and complicated. How do you make it more manageable? Where do you begin?
Marston: We're communicators and don't live in the measurement world. Ikea is a very simple company. We try to make everything as simple as possible to eliminate complexity. That's true with our products and it's true with Big Data. We look for ways to simplify it so that it's right for our business and right for our audiences.
When looking at Big Data, my goal is to interpret it and make it simple enough so it can be explained back to somebody else who is not a statistician or a numbers person. I'm looking to position it so that person will understand it and take away what I want them to take away. A key consideration is also collecting only the data you need, not the data you don't need.
Fidelzeid: Can you offer a specific example of how a particular measurement program helped prove PR's impact on bottom-line results?
Marston: About two years ago, our insights manager did a market mix modeling analysis. It was the first time we had ever done it for all of our marketing efforts at Ikea. When I first learned she was doing this, I didn't even know what it was, but thought it was interesting. So we submitted all the data we had, but it wasn't enough information to even register in the analysis tool. As such, we weren't able to participate in it.
Then I saw the first report come back for all my colleagues in the other marketing disciplines. I clearly saw what they were contributing to the bottom line and I desperately wanted to know what PR contributed.
The second year came around and we were determined to figure out PR's contribution. We worked with a modeler to submit the information and we finally got a read for PR. Amazingly PR ranked in the top three of the different marketing efforts that gave back results to sales. That not only got our attention, but also that of our other colleagues in the marketing group. It was great validation for what we do. It was also very interesting for everyone from the CMO to the people out in our stores to see how earned media really gives the company so much more of a sales boost than we ever realized.
I also want to note how fortunate I am that Ikea US has an insights manager who sits in our integrated marketing communications team.
Fidelzeid: You lead commercial PR in the US, but Ikea is a global company. Can you speak to how PR measurement is undertaken on a global level?
Marston: My role is strictly in the US, but when I go to our global meetings once or twice a year I see that we as a company are all over the map on this. The UK is pretty far ahead and doing some really interesting things. However, in some of the smaller countries, some former Eastern European nations, the money isn't there so they only measure impressions. Some countries are still measuring and reporting on AVEs, which makes me crazy. I can't imagine even thinking about it in that way any longer.
Fidelzeid: How important are media impressions at this point?
Marston: They are still important, as they provide a baseline. It's an easy number people can quickly grasp. It gives you a point of comparison from year to year or program to program. Of course, impressions don't do us a lot of good if they are with outlets my consumers don't care about. It's more about the quality of the story, the tone, sentiment, and placement.
At the end of the day, we must move from only measuring that to really looking at the changes we're bringing in consumer perception or behavior. Did you do something? In my case, did my efforts make a consumer come into our store, go online, or talk about Ikea in a favorable way? If it doesn't make them do anything differently, that was not money well spent.
Fidelzeid: PR is continually striving to become a bigger part of the integrated mix. Measurement is certainly something that can help. How has measurement helped Ikea's PR team secure or strengthen its position?
Marston: We always had that secure seat, but doing that market mix model really illustrated what we were contributing. It wasn't me talking about it and trying to convince people. The numbers spoke for themselves.
Fidelzeid: Could you identify some specific things data has enabled you to highlight that you couldn't before?
Marston: As noted before, PR was clearly contributing to sales, but the numbers allowed us to prove it beyond a doubt. I wasn't able to qualify that before. PR was also contributing to the halo effect that comes from articles people have read in which they identify how they learned about something. It was very much through editorial. I suspected it was occurring, but didn't know that as fact until the numbers bore it out.
Fidelzeid: Since measurement is becoming so much more important in PR, how do you see that impacting the makeup of your staff? Has it already?
Marston: It hasn't yet because I haven't needed to hire anybody on my team. Going forward, though, I certainly would look for somebody that was more left-brain to supplement the creativity of the mostly right-brainers we have now. Such a person would prove to be a very good partner on our team.
Fidelzeid: Where do you see Ikea's measurement journey taking you in the next six months to a year?
Marston: I certainly see the entire team working as an integrated marketing department. I recently spoke with the project lead on a big program we're going to launch in the spring. I told her that as she develops the brief and works on setting the goals for what we will measure and hold ourselves to, she must look across all the disciplines and find the elements common to all of us. I then began talking to her about outcomes and she gave me a very confused look. “We've never measured those things before,” she said. That was very interesting. She started to nod her head as she began realizing the power of measurement if we are able to change consumer behavior and perception. We'll be so much further down the road of driving end results, which is getting customers into our stores and generating sales. It was as if she was converted into thinking of this in an entirely new way than she did prior to our conversation.
Fidelzeid: Any final thoughts?
Marston: As Ikea continues its journey – and many others do – it's so important to keep it simple. Know what your culture is and what's needed in your company so that you can share this information back with the broader organization. Then work with whoever is your measurement partner in a very honest and straightforward way, building that partnership so they understand where you are. That way, you can collaborate most effectively and get the right information so you can build the right program. The information you glean must be useable for your needs.
The final thing: sometimes we don't like to admit what we don't know, but you have to start there. Otherwise you're only fooling yourself and others.
Sheil (Cleveland Clinic): Healthcare is totally changing in the US. How hospitals get paid will look very different tomorrow than it does right now. Moreover, only about 1% of our patients actually travel to the Cleveland Clinic from outside of Northeast Ohio. The goal of PR at the Cleveland Clinic is to get more people to know about us. As such, we want to build national awareness, but we also want to be very targeted to the patients who might get on a plane and travel for care.You also have to be very respectful of the fact that it's very inconvenient to go on a plane, stay at a hotel, and have surgery with your family not with you. A very small percentage of people would actually do that. Our charge is to make sure we have the right message to the right audience in the right vehicle. They won't travel for broken heart syndrome, but they'll travel for a valve replacement. So, we have to be very specific in targeting stories to specific patients. And some of those stories have truly moved the needle for our organization – and measurement has shown that to the C-suite.
Weiner (Prime): Our client MasterCard created a giant visual display at its headquarters. It tracks traditional and social media in real time and displays it all in a very compelling way. It also uses a Conversation Suite to hold big client meetings. Everyone who enters that building cannot miss that big wall.One such annual meeting is with a hotel chain that had an affinity card with a competitor. Every year, MasterCard hoped to get them to switch. Every year, they went through the presentation and politely declined.
This year, the same meeting was held and that hotel's CMO was impressed, but noted how clients love the other card and, as such, he saw no reason to change.
In that instant, MasterCard called up the hotel chain's name on the Conversation Suite and looked at social media. The board went from green to red, indicating negative. Everybody was saying, “I hate this card.” Utter silence. For two minutes, everybody was simply staring at the board. Two months later, that hotel chain switched to MasterCard.
As far as proving value, this was a case where explicit data that only meant one thing for that hotel chain CMO prompted them to change. That was an influx of revenue that could be attributed to that investment in the big wall. It's a classic example of proving PR's value through data.
Marston (Ikea): We're always looking for information to discover barriers that keep people from shopping at Ikea. Through data, we discovered that we did not have many spokespersons quoted in articles. We were dependent on how the article was positioned for us. Our voice was not coming through, but it would have given us one more opportunity to say it the way we wanted to say it and to be very specific to those points.We have crafted an executive visibility program to push out our spokespersons. It will take time to see if this leads to behavior change, but the concept of the program is sound and was informed by data we collected.
Binzel (Edelman Berland): Last year, I worked with a client that was involved in a state legislative battle. It was trying to get bills passed in certain key states relative to a product it was promoting. The legislation process was going well, but, suddenly, they lost three states in a month and couldn't figure out why. We immediately researched what the media was saying in those states around this legislative battle.
Through the research, we found out two crucial things. First, our client had some great key messages that were getting out, but the opposition effectively spun those to their benefit. They would say our side promised to do so and so, but what they really mean is this. Second, we were able to pinpoint where the opposition's message was coming from – various third parties our client hadn't considered engaging. From this, we were able to tweak our messages so they couldn't be turned around on us. We also realized the need to get third parties to tell our story.The next state legislative cycle hasn't opened, but our hope is to have the tenor of the coverage change and, ultimately, we'll see the business benefit as more states pass the legislation.
Cartwright (Legacy): Thousands of teens start smoking every day. If you look long term, 90% of adults who have smoked throughout their lives started before they turned 18. The big battle for us here was to find out what prompts them to smoke. Beyond peer pressure, rebelling, and those types of motivations, our research discovered they were heavily influenced by seeing actors smoke on screen.
Armed with this, we went to directors and studio executives to get policies introduced where smoking in films would be curbed. Over the years, a huge earned media effort led the Motion Picture Association of America to signify with a ranking whether a movie had smoking in it.This is an ongoing battle, but measurement has given us tools to influence the way tobacco is glamorized to kids.
Neuwirth (Dannon): The average American today eats less than one cup of yogurt per week. In Canada, it's double that. In France, it's six times that. That's a huge opportunity for us as category leaders, and last year we began the process of trying to figure out the reasoning behind the figures. Of course, we had to take a step back from our individual brands and look at the category overall, but we had to better understand the US numbers. This required a different lens through which to develop insights on what we could do to change the perception and the behavior regarding snacking and yogurt consumption.
Our research indicated that no single benefit of yogurt is enough to drive notable behavioral change. We had missed that because, historically, we are a house of brands. We have a digestive health brand called Activia. We have a weight management brand called Light & Fit. We've always looked through the lens of measurement based on a specific need. We very consciously took a step back through the use of research and measurement to look at what we ultimately arrived at, which is the kitchen-sink solution.What motivates people to change snacking behavior, specifically to yogurt, is the compelling case of the kitchen sink. It helps you lose weight. It has potassium, calcium, and vitamin D. You throw in the whole messaging of the kitchen sink and it actually leads to the behavioral change, which has led to a business change in how we conduct our PR. This is an entirely new layer and level of PR, reputation management, and perception shaping to change the behavior of snacking to include yogurt.
Burke (BurrellesLuce): So many people look to market mix modeling and lament not having a seat at the table. However, if you understand the value of metrics, even just at a baseline level, you'll have that voice at the table. Taken a step further, you'll be able to categorize those both in a quantitative and qualitative way.
Clients often come to us and say, “We know we need to start someplace.” And we show them that even with a little thimble of information, they can start opening up about how that can affect business and what the next steps might be. Then you can start having key conversations companywide. It's really about the adoption of measurement and being able to move forward with that information.The key is understanding the metric base and the value base within your organization – and that always goes back to knowing the business.
Weiner (Prime): Data is the language of the C suite. If you're talking about generating buzz, breaking through the media clutter, and a lot of things PR people use to denote value and performance, that doesn't resonate in the C-suite. Data does.