The PR industry has long been discussing how and why we need to demonstrate the value of PR. It’s an approach starting to gain traction in Asia too as we see more senior executives and communicators focusing on the impact of media results.
As Thomas Kwan of Hume Brophy observes, it’s a trend in Hong Kong and Asia, supported by the development of new technology and services. It’s now easier and more cost-efficient for brands to invest in digital tools, brand surveys, and research to demonstrate effectiveness of their communications efforts. More practitioners are also using social listening tools to help them understand and see the real-time reactions of their target audience.
The past 18 months have placed communicators in the spotlight. They have stepped forward to manage issues and conversations arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Equally, as business issues like diversity and inclusion, sustainability and so on lead the organisational agenda; senior leaders are seeing the true value that PR can bring. This PR renaissance is substantiated by Telum’s Asia Pacific Communications Survey, 2021, where 77 per cent of senior communicators said their team or function has been raised in importance over last year.
Our recent webinar on “Measuring your PR Efforts for Success” was timely for APAC communicators. CARMA Asia’s Business Development Manager, Charles Cheung and Thomas Kwan of Hume Brophy discussed metrics, measurement frameworks, and offered practical advice for communicators who want to set up a measurement programme.
Key takeaways from the discussion included:
1. Don’t measure everything!
Measurement drives behaviour. If the performance of your organisation is measured only by net: new revenue, then the focus is all on driving new business, potentially detracting from existing customers or retention. The same is true with PR measurement. If you are just measuring your team on quantitative-based measures (volume of coverage, number of followers), then that’s basically the performance you are asking your team to deliver.
The truth is that we shouldn’t be measuring every single data point, but rather, we need to focus on what really matters to your business. For Thomas at Hume Brophy, this means tracking only certain subjects or “capabilities” that are most relevant or in line with their clients’ businesses. This means only focusing on quality media opportunities and screening out those that do not make a material impact on the business or on the mindset of our target audience.
2. Finding meaning to the numbers.
Data and insights are two very different things. Portals give you data but do not tell you anything more than that. Use the data to tell a story and inform your actions. Always ask yourself questions like; “What does the data mean to you?” and “What actions can you take based on the data?”
3. PR measurement should be treated as an indicator rather than just a report.
For your communications programme to be effective, it needs to be planned early and reviewed periodically against your measurement and evaluation framework. Reviewing it regularly gives you the flexibility to change tactics if necessary and to stay on course to achieving your communications goals or KPIs. Your PR measurement programme is a strategic tool that can help make timely and informed decisions. It should not be just a report.
4.Trust and transparency in client-agency relationships is fundamental to formulating a successful comms and measurement programme.
For brands working with a PR agency, allowing your agency to have a full and clear understanding of your company’s business goals, challenges and internal dynamics enables them to formulate an appropriate communications programme that can truly meet your needs. It sounds simple but is a programme fundamental easily overlooked. If the collective team fails to deliver because one party was not transparent when setting the goals, the trust could break down and it may be a downward spiral from there.