For public relations and communications professionals, observing Measurement Month is an annual recognition of the importance of using data to support the work we do. Each November, many of the profession’s leading voices unify to speak on a single topic: measurement.
Measurement of public relations work has had a bumpy road to recognition. Even now, many practitioners continue to field requests from clients for vanity metrics, such as likes and followers, or data that holds no real value, like AVEs.
The reason for measurement month is to shine a spotlight on good measurement techniques, and offer peer recognition to those who are doing it right.
Among the many organizations and individuals who spent the month of November highlighting advances in the practice of PR measurement were AMEC, CIPR, and PRCA-Asia Pacific.
Some of the more prominent themes will sound familiar to those who have followed measurement issues, such as ways to evaluate the impact of programs and using measurement to assess how news resonates. Internal themes include developing a measurement program to demonstrate the effectiveness of communications and PR—a long-standing goal that helps to protect allocations when budgets get tight.
The International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2021, and has been advocating for the application of best practices in measurement for years. In addition to their tireless advocacy of good, solid measurement practices, they developed the Integrated Evaluation Framework, and are the founders of the Barcelona Principles, the first widely adopted set of guidelines to measure public relations campaigns.
AMEC continues to be a driving force behind Measurement Month, and 2022 was no different. AMEC’s promotion of this year’s list of events included a variety of webinars featuring AMEC members speaking on a diverse range of subjects, such as: a discussion on Impact Measurement; Instilling a Measurement Mindset; Leadership and Evaluation: twin faces of the same coin; and The Past and Future of PR Measurement.
When we look at topics such as these, it’s evident that despite an understanding that measurement can help to demonstrate the effectiveness of public relations and communications work, many practitioners are still trying to get a handle on what it means to really integrate measurement into their daily work.
As part of Measurement Month activities, CARMA’s Richard Bagnall, Co-Managing Partner and CEO for Europe & the Americas, received special recognition for his efforts in championing PR measurement. He was the recipient of this year’s AMEC Don Bartholomew Award. The award—named in honor of Don Bartholomew, a well-known figure in the PR community who was an early and passionate advocate for measuring PR—is presented “in recognition of an individual’s outstanding contribution to AMEC, and to the wider measurement and evaluation industry.” Aseem Sood, AMEC Chairman, said this of Richard when introducing him at the awards ceremony: “He is the best evangelist we have at AMEC, and in the measurement community at large.”
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) held its National Conference in November, which examined trends impacting PR professionals around the globe, including measurement. Johna Burke, Global Managing Director of AMEC explored questions of ethics in data analytics and the intersection between reputation management and modern technology—all areas that will continue to grow in importance.
CIPR also recognized Richard Bagnall’s contributions to the field of PR measurement, awarding him the CIPR President’s medal, one of the organization’s highest honors.
Bagnall’s long work in PR measurement was recognized, and he said: “For PR and comms to secure the seat at the table that it deserves while defending and enhancing its budgets, it is imperative that it can point to the true value that it contributes. I have attempted to make this process as simple as possible, and demystify some of the elements that can appear confusing and difficult. As the pressure on all of us to be fully accountable increases, it has been my passion to help as many PR pros as possible with this challenge.”
That increasing pressure to be fully accountable will continue to drive measurement standards and innovation. What Measurement Month contributes, in addition to simply highlighting the importance of measurement—is that it pushes all of us to uncover ways to make good measurement practices part of our regular work, rather than a periodic push to justify funding or address a special request.
Setting aside one month of the year to really focus on the importance of measurement in the practice of PR and communications is a great way to recognize the work being done by individuals and companies in the measurement space. And, this dedicated month also offers all PR practitioners events, webinars, and learning opportunities to further build their skills in this vital aspect of effective communications.