Coalition seeks feedback on PR measurement standards

GAINESVILLE, FL: The Coalition for Public Relations Research Standards has launched a microsite seeking feedback on proposed measurement and research guidelines.

GAINESVILLE, FL: The Coalition for Public Relations Research Standards has launched a microsite seeking feedback on proposed measurement and research guidelines.

The group is asking communications executives to review and comment on the guides by the end of January. Once it has received feedback from the public, the coalition will revise and publish the updated standards for industry-wide adoption.

The guidelines will address five main areas: traditional media analysis; social media measurement; return on investment; ethics in measurement and evaluation; and the communications lifecycle. The coalition created teams to draft standards addressing each area.

David Geddes, chair of the Institute for Public Relations' measurement commission and leader of the coalition, encouraged PR professionals to participate in refining the guidelines in order to reach a consensus.

“People can get involved by getting in touch with the leaders of these teams. If there is an area where anyone feels there needs to be a standard, they can contact the institute and either join the team or start a team. We can get the resources and support to help develop, test, and communicate them,” he added.

A panel of corporate leaders, formed last summer, will also provide feedback on the proposed standards. The panel includes Gary Sheffer, VP of corporate communications and public affairs at General Electric; Linda Rutherford, VP of communication and strategic outreach at Southwest Airlines; General Motors' head of communications research Jackie Matthews; and McDonald's external communications manager Molly McKenna Jandrain.

“If we don't develop industry standards, the clients will, and then instead of having one set of standards, we'll have a CPG company, an auto company, and a pharmaceutical company all having its own measures. Internal groups, agencies, and research firms would have to adapt to a dozen different standards,” Geddes said.

IPR created the coalition to develop measurement standards in February. Partnering organizations include AMEC, the Council of PR Firms, the Public Relations Society of America, and the Global Alliance for PR and Communication Management. The group's ultimate goal is to create a framework that can be applied across PR activities.

The coalition first formed a steering committee, which met in March to set priority areas where standards needed to be developed. Next, it convened working groups, comprised of people from across the industry, to develop the first draft of standards.

“For years, this has been talked about, but now we're actually getting some people to talk to each other and agree on issues and standards,” Geddes said.

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