CARMA’s AMEC Measurement Month 2020 Highlights

From Chart Porn to 120 Years of Paper Clippings and Managing Budgets at Risk

9-11 minutes

Each year, AMEC celebrates best practice in measurement and gathers leaders from all over the globe to share expertise and explore emerging trends. Offering nine of its own webinars this year, and with Richard Bagnall, our Co-Managing Partner and AMEC chair, regularly appearing throughout the month, CARMA played a large part in the celebrations for AMEC Measurement Month 2020.

Have you missed any? If so, we’ve got you covered. Here is our selection of the best bits:

The measurement industry has a history of incredible transformation and growth

Richard opened the #AMECMM ball with a powerful argument that only of few of us in the industry can embody: “25 years in measurement matters more than ever”.

Richard used some personal recollections to bring this history of transformation to life. His fascinating talk painted the picture of a world pre-Internet, pre-corporate network and all paper-based where 120 years of “innovation” was limited to the size of your media clipping.

Very early on, he noticed the emergence of measurement companies like Durrants starting a digital revolution in the field but also causing new threats to what meaningful evaluation and measurement should be with the delivery of AVE results.

“In 25 years, we’ve gone from being 5 or 6 UK-based, paper-based media content evaluation businesses to today, where we have over 190 members around the world in more than 86 different countries”, Richard noted.

And the best is yet to come: “Our members aren’t just vendors. We have most of the biggest PR agencies in the world, we’ve got a vibrant not-for-profit group, academics, in-house teams, government departments, industry bodies all making up that cohort of AMEC members. This global membership allows us to speak with a global and consistent voice.”

Influencer marketing: don’t place celebs on pedestals

Want to influence your audience on social media? Thought about using celebrities to promote your campaign or products? Think again, CARMA Account Director Orla Graham and influencer marketing expert Scott Guthrie advised.

Orla and Scott joined forces to give an insightful conversation on the use of influencers in PR and how to use measurement to rethink your strategy.

They agreed that the media industry generally tends to place celebrities on a pedestal, but this transactional communication appeals to a traditional broadcast model of communication: good at getting reach, poor at influencing behaviours.

What you want to create is engagement. You want to appeal to someone with domain expertise within a specific context, with elevated stature.

Influencers nurture their community. They listen and engage, typically around specific issues.

The need to work with influencers is clear: just because you don’t work with them doesn’t mean they’re not talking about you.

What does it mean for you? It means that when communicating about your activities, you need to find the right advocates.

Identifying the right influencers isn’t just a case of finding the Instagram accounts with the largest reach. It’s about identifying your objectives, knowing what you’re trying to achieve, understanding your audience and what messages will resonate with them.

Automated data alone cannot give you the full picture of your impact

Data is easy to get. At the click of a button, anybody from anywhere can access huge pools of data. But automated data alone cannot answer your business questions.

This is exactly what our colleagues based in Asia, CARMA Asia Managing Director Andrew Nicholls and Analyst Pearl Ong, demonstrated in their webinar.

Andrew and Pearl unveiled the results of the latest CEO Brand Report reviewing the value of leadership in communications.

The report highlighted the usefulness of overlaying data with qualitative insights, but also asserted the importance of getting humanly analysed data to capture sentiment, prominence but also journalistic bias and different types of coverage (proactive, reactive, spontaneous or third party generated).

They also introduced additional insights deciphered thanks to data integration and the correlation of various content sources, such as online, print, and broadcast coverage, Google trends data or social engagement.

As Gareth Owens, SaaS Director at CARMA, put it in his own webinar: “There is no silver bullet to score influence.” Finding relevant information to form insights cannot be downloaded by the click of a button.

Impact is about storytelling

Client Services Director Alison Williams, Account Director Orla Graham and CARMA Portugal Managing Director Luís Garcia’s webinar encouraged their audience to put planning at the heart of measurement: “If you don’t plan out your activities and metrics in advance, you won’t be able to tell a meaningful story about what you and your team have achieved.”

Delving into four case studies (Revolut, Northern Ireland Tourism, Visit Britain and Redbull) they showed how brands from different industries and with different goals have approached measurement.

All have one thing in common: they measured what matters based on their core business objectives.

Alison, Orla and Luís delivered one final tip to the audience: less is more. “The industry is moving away from ‘the digital thud factor’, towards more meaningful and concise reporting that focuses on outputs, outtakes and outcomes. Numbers and dashboards are great, but impact is all about storytelling.”

Crisis monitoring: act fast and iterate

SaaS Director at CARMA, Gareth Owens, shared his own working experience in the field of measurement and analytics as it began in 2000, right as we went into the ‘.com’ crash, followed by the telecoms crash and other economic recessions.

It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that Gareth is used to tackling disruption, so he naturally felt the need to share his top ten tips for monitoring in a crisis, to stay on top of the news agenda.

2020 was the year of crises and events: COVID-19, Australia Fires, Boeing, Brexit, Black Lives Matter, to name a few.

And another reminder that these have many guises. “Hence why understanding the types of crises that can occur is important for your strategic planning. There are some blind spots that you can sometimes mitigate against.

“If you’re nervous about an issue in the market place, it costs very little to monitor it. If it turns out to be nothing, it’s all good, but if it turns out to be something, then you’ve got to have a news agenda ready.

“When a crisis hits, you need to have a plan, act fast and iterate as necessary. Monitor with purpose: set clear objectives, think about what you will do with the data/information to take the appropriate measures, broaden the scope of your measurement (could it turn into a global crisis?) but measure what matters, uncover the unknown and understand who and what is important.

COVID-19: Now is wake-up time for the industry

“The value of Communications in the new COVID-19 era” summed up the challenges the industry is now facing.

Richard presented an AMEC survey evaluating the impact of the pandemic on the communications industry, demonstrating how organisations have been impacted in their ability to do business development, work in an office, or even communicate. The lack of certainty is real: despite several vaccines being released, no one can predict how the health and economic crisis will evolve in 2021.

“All around the world, organisations, whether they are commercial or not-for-profit, will be looking at their budget line, and I fear that this could create the perfect storm for the PR industry”, Richard warned.

Too many organisations are still not measuring what matters because too many communicators are still ‘spraying and praying’. Day-to-day activities and media noise without strategic planning can be damaging to your reputation. And “our reputation is our license to operate” Richard rightfully pointed out.

Not measuring value against organisational objectives exposes ourselves to greater risks.

So how can we measure better then? Share the right information in the right format, measure what you’ve achieved but also plan for the future by providing strategic insights.

The only way that we’ll be able to defend our budgets and maintain our importance and role within the firms we represent is by showing that we generate value for our organisation.

Being able to tell a meaningful story means demonstrating that we are value creators.

Only then we’ll be able to navigate this new post-pandemic era.

All CARMA webinars are available on demand.

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