The measure of success: The Measurement Roundtable

From social listening to leveraging the Barcelona Principles, measurement strategies can help boost comms' impact on a company's bottom line. Industry leaders discussed these topics and how greater insights can be mined from data at this BurrellesLuce-hosted roundtable in New York


-Johna Burke, EVP, BurrellesLuce
-John Deveney, president, Deveney Communications
-Robert Fronk, MD of reputation strategy, Purple Strategies
-Todd Grossman, CEO of the Americas, TalkWalker
-Jackie Matthews, comms research strategist, General Motors
-Heidi Mock, senior director, analytics and insights, Time Warner Cable
-Beth Perell, VP of information management, Goodwill Industries
-David Rockland, partner/CEO, Ketchum Global Research & Analytics
-Linda Rutherford, VP of comms and outreach, Southwest Airlines
-Meredith Stevens, senior director of integrated initiatives, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the beef checkoff

We convened 10 industry leaders to discuss how PR measurement has evolved and how it has helped the industry gain an even stronger voice in the C-suite and organization-wide. Below are some highlights of the conversation:

Are you really listening?

Matthews: "We have a listening center. Frankly, every brand should have one. It allows you to be proactive in various ways. There are also times when social listening allows you to turn a potentially negative situation around"

Go here to see how listening helped Chevrolet turn a potential crisis during last year’s World Series around.

Mock: "Listening is an untapped source of intelligence. It offers the most honest, transparent feedback. It will tell you how people are really talking about your brand, the phrasing they use, the tone, and so on"
Perell: "Listening helps identify brand ambassadors who might otherwise slip under the radar. Maybe there’s someone who doesn’t have tons of followers, but is really jazzed about your brand and has followers who truly engage with the content"

Outputs and outcomes

Stevens: "Integrated measurement is about outputs and outcomes. It’s really easy to look at the outputs and say, 'Look at all the stuff we’ve done.' But why does it matter? What is that getting you to? What are the outcomes?"
Deveney: "Without the integration of outputs and outcomes, you can’t understand the cost of your outcomes. As an agency or in-house arm, you need to be able to advise brand decision-makers on programs that will deliver the outcomes you want at the best cost"

Benefits of The Barcelona Principles

Rutherford: "I get impatient with critics who don’t feel the Barcelona Principles have evolved fast enough. Listen to conversations happening today among PR teams. You’re hearing terms such as 'measurable objectives' and 'transparency table.' You rarely heard those things five years ago"

Burke: "The baseline the principles provide is so valuable. Even if you can only do quantitative measurement, they give you a great foundation for effectiveness. Adopting them can clearly help you determine what will or won’t work within your organization"
Rockland: "Think back 15 years ago. PR measurement was people cutting stuff out of magazines and newspapers and making a big fat book. Your measurement was how pretty your book was. Five years ago, we at least got some basic rules. Now we’re evolving from there"

Go here to see how the Barcelona Principles, originally introduced in 2010, have been updated in 2015.

Little data, big impact

Fronk: "Think about the main outcomes communications is tasked with driving. It’s about informing or changing opinion and behavior. If you begin with that lens, little data is far more valuable to those outcomes"
Grossman: "Big data is sexy. CEOs want it. It’s predictive, as well as analytical. Little data, though, is equally as important. It’s more personal. You can drill down and make some really nice decisions that bring a new level of context to your communications efforts"

Go here for an extended version of this roundtable, including our expert panel’s insights on balancing local and global measurement needs, as well as the true definition of integrated measurement.

The positive outcomes measurement brings

Prior to the BurrellesLuce-hosted Measurement Roundtable, Heidi Mock, senior director of analytics and insights at Time Warner Cable, spoke about how measurement improves PR's standing with the C-suite and the keys to truly effective media monitoring. Below are some highlights from Gideon Fidelzeid's conversation with the "PR measurement gal."

Winning over the C-suite:
"They expect the whole picture and our integrated dashboard captures our work in a way that enables our C-suite to see in a quick snapshot how communications was impacting the company goals, the priorities that were pre-established, how we were continuing to move forward in that direction, and finding new ways in which to evaluate that information with different audiences in mind."

Effective media monitoring:
"It has to go beyond monitoring to tracking. You need to study the media in real time – or as close to real time as you can – to get the information you need. Tracking will tell you how coverage looks as a picture, where there were spikes, and where there were lost opportunities. This information really comes in handy when planning events or product launches for a particularly opportune time."

Go here for an extended version of PRWeek's conversation with Mock, which includes additional thoughts on using data to tell effective stories, her unique views on media impressions, and some unexpected benefits of social listening.

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