10 ways to make the most of your PR measurement service provider

The state of measurement and data analytics is one of the key indicators that reflects the condition and maturity of any Industry.

Many companies do not realize that their PR measurement service provider is a potential life line for not just the efficient functioning of the corporate communications machinery but also the brand health of the organization. 

I have observed that very few communication teams use it optimally.

Here are some key points to consider while making the most of your PR measurement service provider:

  1. Measurement vs. Monitoring confusion: The start needs to be right. Many confuse measurement with monitoring. The latter is about what is happening, while the former deals with how the quantity and quality of the brand’s content helped the organization’s brand and balance sheet. The morning news alert newsletters or end of the month compilation of share of voice, tonality split, geographic bifurcation, spokesperson visibility details, publication and journalist details; all fall under monitoring. Measurement is a different ball game.
  2. Should mirror the entire communication Chakra: Any form of communication chakra e should cover exposure, engagement and conversion. Missing of any one block makes the mission incomplete. Hence, measurement should progress from listening, planning, benchmarking, target setting, execution and finally conclude with the ROO and ROI evaluation. In a nutshell, it is all about input, output and outcome.
  3. Scope of Work should be well defined: Most of the times, the scope of work designed and given as a brief to the PR measurement service provider does not match with the overarching business and communication objectives. Mediums, media titles, markets, keywords, required data cuts, data delivery frequency, insights, often don’t fit into the larger scheme of things.
  4. Spend time beyond Share of Voice and rankings: Most of the times, clients rarely see the need, or to be fair, have the time to go beyond the share of voice rank slides. However, the secret recipe for success starts after it. If one studies the factors which led to their and competition’s success or failure, enough action points can be culled out with regards to the organization’s effort, resources and processes.
  5. Use healthy unit of measurement (AVE or EAV is cancer): Enough has been spoken about the demerits of AVE already. I termed it as a cancer long back. Even quantitative use of count of articles or space is worthless. Unit of measurement should be a balance of qualitative and quantitative parameters.
  6. Should fortify working relationships between desks:My work experience is  dotted with innumerable instances where PR Measurement not only helped corporate communication heads achieve fruitful performance appraisals with their top management but also helped PR Firms have successful performance meetings with clients. Measurement is a very powerful relationship fortifier between service provider and service taker.
  7. Use beyond pleasing your boss: Using data to secure or retain the job is a common and necessary requirement of life. Keeping oneself in the good books of the bosses  is important. However, that should not skew the deliveries of your measurement service provider away from the core intelligence it is supposed to provide. There are ways to design the wireframe that accomplishes both the objectives.
  8. Account planning gives purpose: The concept of account planning is relatively new in the world of public relations. However, this is the bedrock to strengthen this industry. Learning the science and art of account planning is under progress – though in a hit and trial format. Some of the core questions account planning answers are: What is the communication objective, why PR and how it should be executed. Measurement gets a purpose when blocks like these are answered realistically. Without account planning, measurement is very superficial and more of a formality.
  9. Measurement deck should lead you to performance evaluation: Design your measurement framework in such a way so that you and your team are able to evaluate the performance of ERPs – Efforts, Resources & Processes – deployed by each desk across the communications assembly line. Being able to link or associate the health of the report card to the performance or under- performance of the specific desk within the communication assembly line (across corporate communications and PR firm team desks) is  vital.
  10. Start focusing on cross media trends: Focusing on individual media wise (Print, TV, Digital, Social Media) reports is fine. However, the real action points and the big picture observations will come when you look at the cross-media analytics.

A quick glance at the measurement SOPs followed by an organization reveals a lot about the quality or the state of Corporate Communications machinery function within it. Design it well and make the most of it!

Siddhartha Mukherjee is founder, Brand Balance. The author helps communication teams  move closer to the boardroom by re-engineering the ERPs – Efforts, Resources & Processes.