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Part Two: Eight Steps Towards Creating a PR Measurement Culture

It May Require Change Management, But It Will Be Worth It

In our last blog we started to explore how it is possible to build a culture of measurement and covered the first four steps required to help make measurement part of your organisational fabric. To recap we covered:

1. Communicating the need for a measurement culture
2. Why measurement starts at the top
3. How to enable free-flowing business data-sharing
4. Why it is important to let data change your mind

Now we tackle the remaining four elements needed to complete that transformation.

5. Train, collaborate and listen (to each other)

OK, not everybody needs to have the mad skills—or the PhD—of a data scientist. But everybody can have an attitude that embraces learning with data, and the use of empirical evidence to inform decisions. So, offer employee training in bite-sized bits, it only takes minutes to learn to use Excel pivot tables. A measurement culture means more than just educating and inspiring employees. It means encouraging collaboration and the sharing of experience. Devise techniques so that people of different data proficiencies can interact, hear from each other and share ideas. Give them space together, either in real life, or in your Zoom equivalent. Lunch and learn case study presentations always work well (here is a fascinating measurement story to inspire you).

AMEC’s Integrated Evaluation Framework is a tremendously valuable tool. Employees of all levels can use it to understand and contribute to the measurement process. In addition, it codifies best practices, so that your measurement practice becomes a concrete activity, rather than just the whimsy of senior leaders.

6. Recognise and celebrate the learning value of failure

Nobody wants to make a mistake. Still, learning from mistakes is a big part of using measurement to improve your programs. You must risk failure as part of the process; proper measurement accepts the necessity of learning from mistakes.

Johna Burke of AMEC’s view is exactly that: “I believe that failure or poor performance actually defines how people, programs, and organisations get better. Even if you failed to improve, victory lies in knowing why you failed, and using that to improve going forward. We urge people not to worry about turning in a report with a line going down, as long as you can explain it and have a plan for changing that trend.”

Help employees understand that mistakes are not just normal, but a vital part of learning and improvement. Develop techniques to make admitting failure a positive rather than a negative, measurement facilitates accountability, owning missteps and failure is part of that.

7. Cultivate team spirit

Most PR programs and their measurement require a range of skills to accomplish, often requiring people who might not usually work together to collaborate. The larger the project, the more it benefits from the trust and cooperation of leadership and fellow employees.

Your program might need data from sales or accounting or membership. It might need IT or coding or stats assistance. Regardless of who is involved, you will certainly need agreement on objectives from anyone who will sign off on, or approve, your reports. Agreement on objectives is a critical means to confirm that your work fits with the organisational mission, and with the work of other employees.

According to Johna Burke: “Comms people need to have the confidence to ask for the data they need to tell the full story of their campaigns—and indeed of the company itself. They need access to the CRM and a comprehensive understanding of the various schema and metrics to get the full picture of what’s going on in the organisation. Comms often does not have the expertise to do it alone; they need to work with trained data scientists to turn data into stories.”

8. Drive employee satisfaction through a feeling of control and predictability

Finally, we’ve experienced time and again how measurement culture enables employees to measure not just their PR programs, but understand the value of their own efforts. To feel good, be productive, and feel optimistic about personal and professional life, we humans have evolved a huge need for control and predictability in our personal and professional lives. We want to feel that we understand what is happening around us, that we can influence what happens, and that we have a reliable insight into what is happening tomorrow and in the future. And we want to know we are not wasting our time and brain power on worthless corporate tasks that have very little to do with the organisation’s success. For employees to remain motivated and engaged, they must be able to see the impact and the value of the work they’re doing. That’s where measurement, particularly media intelligence, is critical.

What is your experience of how your organisation has embraced measurement as part of its DNA? What have we missed? What worked and what didn’t? We would love to hear your stories…

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