I attended this year’s PR Analytics conference in London last week, an annual PR moments event hosted at Ketchum PR. The conference had a fantastic line-up of speakers from a variety of different fields who highlighted some of the challenges we are facing as PR professionals and offered practical solutions and plenty of food for thought.
Sean Larkins – Deputy Director, Government Communications: “Demonstrating communications is more effective than legislation, regulation and taxation.”
“I’m not interested in what people see, I’m interested in what people do.” Sean presented the challenges he faces in Government Communications, one of which is all too familiar to most PR and Communications professionals: the challenge of the work we do in Communications being taken seriously by the rest of the business. The public no longer just looks at the government or news media as a source of knowledge and information, and in his role Sean understands that people have started looking at each other for advice and that this influences behaviour.
One of the examples Sean gave is the increasing problem of obesity, which is a serious issue the government has been trying to tackle with taxation, such as the sugar tax or the resizing of bottles that contain sugary drinks. This has had little impact on public behaviour. Communications however has been able to reach a far greater audience with a much bigger impact, proving that the work we do in Communications is valuable to all parts of the business and will help to achieve business goals.
Jeremy Thompson – Chief Executive of Gorkana, Chair AMEC: “Fast growth in media evolution driven by PRs coming of age”
As Chief Executive of Gorkana, Jeremy knows all too well that clarity and structure is key when it comes to data insight. He highlighted the rise of the PR industry, not just in the UK but globally, and while the industry is expanding we increasingly need to be able to filter relevant data that helps us to measure the impact of our PR campaigns.
Jeremy says that we as a public relations sector must be able to agree on measurement criteria and KPIs in order to move towards tackling what he considers to be the biggest mission: the education of the PR industry.
Hugh Davies – Director of Corporate Affairs, Three: “Why a heavily metricised approach to measurement is outdated”
The Barcelona principles were the focus of Hugh’s talk at PR Analytics, showing that AVE is outdated! There are two key messages I have taken away from Hugh’s talk, the first of which is that measuring without having set a goal first is pointless, as the data you will capture will be irrelevant and not related to your campaign.
The second key point was to measure the impact of your PR campaign on your business objectives. Hugh makes clear that you have got to understand your business – or, as an agency, your client – in order to make sure that the work you do as a PR professional ties in with your business objective.
Andrew Grill – Partner, Social Business, IBM Global Business Services: “Using psychometrics to understand the impact of social”
A few of the talks had mentioned social as an element of a successful Communications strategy. However, Andrew’s talk really emphasised the importance of social as an element to analyse your customer. According to Andrew, psycho-linguistic analysis of social data could be the next stage of understanding followers, and give us valuable data about existing and potential customers.
Andrew points out why it is essential for businesses not only to understand the overall value of Social Media, but that social eminence of their people is key: “Your value is no longer what you know, it’s what you share!”
I thoroughly enjoyed attending this year’s PR Analytics and want to thank the speakers for sharing their experience and insight of data measurement at the event. I think it is essential for industry professionals to share their knowledge to ensure that we are moving forward, and hopefully that means that we will all be able to agree on measurement criteria sooner rather than later – to quote Hugh Davies: “If in doubt, Barcelona is always a cool place to be.”