HCA launches toolkit to measure PR return

The Healthcare Communications Association (HCA) has launched a toolkit for evaluating PR campaigns in the fast-growing healthcare sector.

The paper-based toolkit takes the form of a step-by-step guide designed to help clients and PR professionals demonstrate a return on comms investment in healthcare.

Sarah Hart, deputy MD of healthcare specialist Munro & Forster Communications and chair of the HCA evaluation sub-group that produced the toolkit, said the kit was ‘not rocket science’, but the need for it was demonstrated by recent HCA research.

HCA focus group activity and a survey among professionals in both the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare PR firms, found evaluation was not as common for PR campaigns as it was for sales and ad campaigns.

Reasons for the lack of evaluation were found to include a lack of clear objectives, the failure to define endpoints and lack of baseline measurements.

Hart said the toolkit was based on the idea of setting measurable objectives at the start of each project, and that both clients and agents should be involved.

Product comms director at GlaxoSmithKline Jenny Heffron, who is a member of the evaluation sub-group, said she believed clients would be prepared to set budget aside to evaluate PR campaigns.

‘I think clients are ready to pay for it, as they have accepted the need to pay for evaluation in other areas. If they do, it should lead to people using PR more appropriately as part of the marketing mix,’ she said.

In addition to the eight-step guide, the toolkit includes a Q&A section which explores why PR evaluation is important.

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