Social media measurement, after Madrid

What, exactly, is the value of social? This was the question I sought to help answer in my slidestack ahead of the AMEC European Summit in Madrid earlier this month. And it was the overarching question that informed much of the three days of debate, discussion and deliberation.

This post is about two related developments – the latest from "The Conclave" (aka the #SMMStandards Coalition), and "A New Framework for Social Media Metrics and Measurement".

Measurement standards

"Perhaps the most important Social Media launch of the year" is how Katie Delahaye Paine portrays it. This is so-Katie that I can actually hear her saying it right now (as she might hear me cry "the most exciting development in PR since the Cluetrain"!)

Katie refers to a suite of social media measurement standards that represents the work of a collection of organisations (including AMEC, a full list is appended here) informally referred to as The Conclave. Following 18 months of long conference-calls, meetings, slidestacks and email threads, we have posted standards for:

  1. Content and Sourcing
  2. Reach and Impressions
  3. Engagement and Conversation
  4. Influence
  5. Opinion & Advocacy
  6. Impact & Value

Congratulations to everyone involved! A PDF of the definitions and status is available here. Comments remain open until the end of July, so dive in! I'll be feeding back some of the points I've stumbled across in considering a new framework...

A new framework

Having consistent definitions represents significant progress. It reminds me of the progress the Web Analytics Association (now the DAA) made more than a decade ago in formalising the analysis of website performance. And indeed of every other more established profession, not least my first love – engineering.

But what to do next?

The Oxford English defines a framework as a basic structure underlying a system, concept, or text. Now that we're close to having the component parts, subject to comments, we can turn our attention to the framework for their assembly so to speak.

Don Bartholomew and Richard Bagnall took on the mantle of reviewing the current landscape and presented their recommendations for a new framework at the AMEC summit. As Don writes in his accompanying blog post, their work seeks to answer the question: How do we take the standards work coming from The Conclave and operationalize it to create proper social media measurement?

Readers of my blog and my book The Business of Influence will know that I advocate integration of social media measurement into business performance management (BPM), of which the Balanced Scorecard is the dominant framework. If you're not familiar with this management approach, I recommend my slidestack for the Madrid summit, "What, exactly, is the value of social?", and perhaps my May 2013 ebook Attenzi - a social business story.

If you want an even shorter explanation of my advocacy, it goes like this – why reinvent the wheel?

So you can imagine my interest in the framework proposed by Don and Richard was piqued when the only mention BPM secured in Don's post is as follows: "There are certainly other ways to think about this (e.g. Business Performance Management) and we intend to possibly add others based on industry feedback and suggestions."

Remaining an advocate of BPM as the logical conclusion to this debate, I will review this proposed framework in that light. Here goes...

Comments on the proposed new framework

It's worth noting Don's clarification of the difference here between model and framework: "When we use the word model, we are referring to a representation of a system, in this case social media. In the original Valid Metrics Framework, the model used was the traditional sales funnel. A framework adds additional dimensions to the model and is operationalized with metrics."

1. Associated models

First up, I couldn't agree more heartily with the conclusion that the sales funnel is an inappropriate model in this context. As Don writes, it's "not the best way to model common uses of social media like customer relations and building relationships with stakeholder groups". And as I wrote in The Business of Influence, "the application of the marketing funnel to the horizontal axis [of the existing AMEC framework] may turn out to be a weakness in its ability to help to identify appropriate metrics if ‘action’ is translated simply in terms of ringing up the cash register."

However, there appears then to be a contradiction, at least in emphasis. Having referenced the criticality of 'social' when it comes to all stakeholder groups, Don and Richard pick out Forrester’s Customer Lifecycle and McKinsey’s Customer Journey models in the same paragraph as the phrase "social media marketing"; three references to a continued focus on the customer above all other stakeholders. I say there appears to be a contradiction, but fortunately the resulting model does not reference the customer exclusively. I fear however that the couching of the model may lead many to read it with the customer solely in mind.

Here's the proposed new model:

The proposed new model

2. Audience

The model references the "audience". It quotes the new measurement standards definition of impact – "effect of a social media campaign, program or effort on the target audience". It also qualifies exposure – "create potential audience exposure".

I know I can be pedantic when it comes to words and their definitions, but our thoughts and behaviours are influenced by the very language we employ. In this instance, the Oxford English explains that audience means "the assembled spectators or listeners at a public event". With this in mind, I always think references to audience in the context of social media are inappropriate. It's only appropriate in terms of broadcast. I usually defer to the word stakeholders instead, and some prefer publics or constituencies (ie, those having a say). And at the end of the day perhaps "people" or "people with an interest or that matter" says it all.

3. Influence

The model clarifies "influence" by reference to the definition in the measurement standards, but the measurement standards as they stand only recognise the top level definition of influence presented in WOMMA's Influencer Guidebook, and not the accompanying qualification: "There are two distinct states of influencer measurement that are relative to the point in time an influencer marketing program begins: 1. The potential to influence (before); 2. Actual, observed influence (during/after)."

As I wrote in my post about the guidebook, I'd prefer to emphasise the second of these over the first if only for the simple reason that it's the very outcome that so-called influencer marketers seek. Indeed, what is the intended outcome of your marketing (customer) and PR (all stakeholders) campaigns, and the design of your organisation overall, if it's not to get stakeholders to think and behave as you'd like, and to be sensitive to how they'd like you to think and behave? Put like this, influence is the final outcome of any model in the context here, the consequence of which creates mutual value (and business profit, in the context of for-profit entities), or not.

4. Value

Under "impact" the proposed model defines value as "the financial impact". This is counter to the current standards documentation, which, following some last minute tweaks admittedly, defines value as "the importance, worth, or usefulness of something." ROI is one but not the sole way to express the value of something.

5. Advocacy

In my view, any model that acknowledges the possibility of advocacy emerging must also recognise opposition and advocacy for competing agenda. I also don't quite understand why advocacy comes after impact.

6. Programmatic-level, channel-specific and business perspectives

Here's the proposed new framework:

Proposed new valid metrics framework

It recognises the need for tiered metrics ("programmatic-level, channel-specific and business perspectives") – a similarity it shares with or perhaps borrows from business performance management. Interestingly, the Balanced Scorecard also talks about perspectives, although with an emphasis on aligning human, information and organizational assets, processes and corresponding performance metrics with strategy.

6. Paid Owned Earned

Don writes that an alternative version of the framework employs the Paid Owned Earned media (POEm) taxonomy to address the framework's 'phases', and that this will be published shortly. The model also references "owned" and "earned" under "engagement".

I dislike this taxonomy for the simple reason that I haven't seen it contribute any strategic value. In fact, all I have seen it do is prop up 20th Century organizational silos and reinforce misconceptions (eg, that PR is focused on earned / unpaid media when in fact it's agnostic in this respect). See "The Influence View of Content" for more on this.

I wouldn't mind then if this alternative version didn't surface, but I do seem to be alone in my dislike of POEm.

7. Impact

The standards assert that "impact and value represent the ultimate outcome of a social media effort." I don't believe then that any framework can consider programmatic-level or channel-specific metrics in terms of impact. It just doesn't make sense to me.

The influence scorecard

Don, Richard and I have spoken at various lengths about this topic, and indeed the Influence Scorecard framework I have outlined to connect social media measurement into the Balanced Scorecard and similar BPM frameworks. Blog posts are a great way to exchange ideas and air points of view, and I hope such "working out loud" continues, but I wonder if AMEC and The Conclave might not host a workshop on just this topic.

Mr. Leggetter? Katie?


Members of the Conclave

  • Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication
  • The Chartered Institute of Public Relations
  • The Institute for Public Relations
  • The Public Relations Society of America
  • The Council of PR Firms
  • The Global Alliance for Public Relations
  • The International Association of Business Communicators
  • The Society for New Communications Research
  • The Digital Analytics Association (previously the WAA)
  • The Word of Mouth Marketing Association
  • The Advertising Research Foundation
  • Federation Internationale des Bureauxs d'Extraits de Press.

The Conclave's #SMMstandards initiative also includes:

  • The American Association of Advertising Agencies
  • The Association of National Advertisers
  • The Interactive Advertising Bureau

and the following "client organizations":

  • Dell
  • GM
  • McDonalds
  • Ford
  • P&G
  • SAS
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Thomson Reuters.

21st June 2013

Don posts a reply on his blog: New Framework for Social Media Measurement – Update & Debate.

15 thoughts on “Social media measurement, after Madrid

  1. First of all, thanks for the shout out. :) secondly, I hereby hand over the mantle of "Chief Provacateur" to you Mr. Sheldrake. I totally agree, but hadn't put my thoughts down quite so concisely and eloquently. What I fear from this framework is that clients who don't fit into the customer/sales model will be turned off by all of this and ignore the standards. Or, they'll generate so many metrics that they will lose sight of the goal. Personally, I think that all these frameworks need to start with no more than three possible goals and no more than 6 total metrics, but then that's based on working with dozens of clients who come to me and say "I have all these social media metrics but I don't know how to use them or what they mean"
    I've tried to use these frameworks before and have never been able to get a client to buy in to it.

  2. Hi Philip,

    Another highly detailed and well thought through blog post from you containing many sensible points and plenty of food for thought. Katie, thanks for your comments too.

    As Philip mentions, all three of us (plus many more of course) have worked together supporting the conclave's efforts towards creating social media standards as well as through our membership of AMEC's social media group. For your readers who may not be aware, I have the honour of chairing the AMEC group and Don is our vice-chair. This year Don was tasked with leading the work to revise AMEC's original valid metrics framework such that it could work in the context of social media measurement. The framework to which Katie refers that she was not able to get working previously was of course this original framework which although sound for traditional media measurement did fall down when applied to social and digital media.

    As significant contributors to so much great thinking in this space, I was particularly sorry that this year neither of you were able to attend AMEC's European summit in Madrid. We missed you both, your contributions and lets face it your camaraderie over a glass or two of wine! I do believe that had you been there, many of your concerns would have been allayed. Some of the points that we made but which may well not have had justice served to them in Don's blog post include:

    - Social media measurement will never be measured by one number, a score or an index. Why not? Because measuring it accurately and meaningfully will always depend on understanding what each organisation is trying to achieve - its objectives. Each and every organisation has different objectives and therefore a suite of appropriate metrics is required if we're to measure in a meaningful manner.

    - The number of metrics required will vary totally depending on the number of objectives that the organisation defines. In some case it could be only one or two, in other cases it could be many more. I would agree with Katie's point about not having too many objectives and not having too many metrics, just focus in on the important ones.

    - Some of these metrics may be financial, but many will not be. Value to an organisation may well not be financial and we were careful to explain this in Madrid.

    - Not every metric that is suggested in the frameworks are to be used in every case. They have been populated to provide some education and examples for people to pick and choose as appropriate. By no means should all of these metrics be used every time, but conversely nor are they necessarily an exhaustive list.

    - The framework will not cause anyone to ignore the standards and nor does it compete with them. More to the point, the framework should be populated with the metrics and terms that are now standards. The frameworks are not standards themselves, rather they are a credible and flexible approach that allows global users to apply the standards shaped to their specific objectives (or as Katie calls them 'goals'.)

    The pressing need that AMEC has identified in the global communications industry is a severe lack of understanding and education on how to measure social media in a way that makes sense to all of the different organisations that are engaging with it. Too many PR professionals are confused by overly complex approaches being peddled by vendors supplying proprietary analytics and platforms. The subject can appear too confusing and difficult to grasp resulting in a lack of engagement from the industry with the one thing that it needs to get right to ensure its ongoing success. These frameworks offer an easy to understand approach that can be used by all organisations regardless of size or budget. As we stressed, it's all about thinking about your objectives and how you're going to measure them right from the planning stage of the social media campaign.

    Re Philip's points about a balanced scorecard approach, this is indeed on the agenda and makes plenty of sense. However, speaking for myself, I believe that every long journey starts by taking a few small steps. The most important needs that the industry has are:

    - to speak a common language in terms and definitions (see the AMEC glossary to which Philip and Katie have both contributed)
    - to be transparent about methodologies and content sources (see the Transparency Table unveiled at last year's AMEC conference in Dublin)
    - to utilise standards - see the work of the conclave

    and then to have a credible, consistent but meaningful approach to apply these metrics that can be tailored to fit each organisation using them's needs. This is where we are now with the framework and we will certainly take your detailed points above Philip on board to refine it further - again something that we made clear in our session in Madrid.

    Once we have a version that encompasses all of the best thinking from the top brains in our industry we will look to move it on again - and that is where attributional modelling, balanced scorecards etc could fit in. The pressing need for this year however was to answer the need of the industry - to help it think about an approach to social media measurement that was about more than presenting back charts from listening platforms that simply count what is easy to count rather than measure what matters.

    Philip and Katie, thank you both for your valued ongoing contribution both here,through AMEC's social media measurement group and of course all of the other forums that you both give so much of your time to support. The industry is crying out for better education and credible approaches to social media measurement and both of you play a huge part in making this happen.

    I'll look forward to catching up with you both soon and taking your feedback on board.

    Warmly,

    Richard

    1. Thanks Richard. We obviously have shared ambition here and you have the most lovely manner in your writing that makes my assertions appear confrontational by comparison. I hope it's clear that my critique isn't intended to be confrontational but rather informed by a heartfelt desire to learn from those that have focused on measuring organisational performance for the two decades before us.

      If I may attempt to boil your sentiment down to one line, you rate industry adoption more highly than perfection. Quite right! What good is a framework if it just sits pretty in a PDF or on a website?!

      At the heart of this issue sits the question of complexity. Organisations are complex. Markets are complex. Social media is complex. You might then polarise the options open to us as (1) provide a relatively simple framework that doesn't address complexity / reality, or (2) recognise complexity by developing a framework that allows practitioners to navigate it as simply as possible.

      In my opinion, the first is a betrayal when the second is within our grasp.

      Having put a one-liner in your mouth, I can respond then with my own one-liner: How good is a framework that directs practitioners to repeat the errors business performance management (BPM) specialists have uncovered and addressed before us?

      Reassuringly, aspects of the Barcelona Principles reflected core tenets of BPM, but as I wrote for the CIPR Friday Roundup at the time (eulr.co/10wEeqV) the priority expressed a year later in Lisbon "to measure the return on investment (ROI) of public relations" appeared to show AMEC members striving for the impossible. As I believe BPM has shown, we can set out a framework to align and secure the strategic value of PR / social / digital / comms, but not the ROI.

      (Note to readers: per #smmstandards, ROI is one but not the sole way to express the value of something.)

      You say that every long journey starts by taking a few small steps. It's fortunate for us then that the majority of the Global 2000 companies, and many more besides, started the BPM journey long before we started tweeting. Scorecards and similar frameworks exist right now. They are not perfect, just better than anything else we've tried. We don't have to reinvent the wheel. We don't have to walk alone. We just need to build the bridge.

  3. Ho Philip,
    I plan a proper response to your post in response to my post that I'll post over on my blog and notify your readers when it is ready.

    In the interim, let me me play devil's advocate to your focus on BPM. First, I would love to see the study that shows "the majority of the Global 2000 companies" use BPM. May well be true, but might also be open to a little interpretation. I have dealt with many large global companies in their efforts to measure public relations and social media and not once has BPM been mentioned. Not a single time. My sense is it may be happening at an organizational level or two above where most measurement thinking about public relations and social media occurs.One can argue that it should trickle all the way down the organization, but I'm suggesting it doesn't as a practical matter. Therefore, discussing everything in a BPM context introduces a foreign language and added complexity to many of the people involved with getting actual measurement programs designed and put in place. I am open to the possibility but skeptical that BPM will add much practical value to the social media measurement conversation.

    On the ROI question, I don't think I'm tracking with your thinking about any framework and ROI. We clearly can and do measure the ROI of some but not all PR and social media initiatives. Not sure how any framework impedes those efforts in any way?

    Thanks, Philip.

    1. Thanks Don.

      Ironically, your experience of PR and BPM matches mine precisely, but then we appear to reach different conclusions. You appear to conclude that because the bridge hasn't been established between the two, we shouldn't build it. I conclude that this fact demands we do in fact build it.

      Sure, practitioners have to learn something new, but pursuing either option here demands as much. Moreover, at some juncture, other job roles have had to get to grips with BPM and I don't see our constituents having any lesser facility to learn it.

      The alternative, to develop our own performance management construct, leaves all things PR / social detached from rather than integrated with the rest of organisational life, and in my view this sits plainly at odds with the fact that social permeates the entirety of organisational life. I just can't see a senior management team or company board sitting down to review the organisation's Scorecard only to bolt on five minutes at the end to review an entirely different performance framework just because those with "social" or PR in their job titles couldn't or wouldn't connect the two.

      Let me see if I can find some statistics on BPM uptake. (I recall the "majority of the Global 2000" claim from a conference I attended rather than something I can immediately link to here.)

      As for your question about ROI, I'm afraid the vast majority of claims to calculate ROI of social are fallacious (see the BBQ example in my stack "What, exactly, is the value of social?", referenced above). Revenue uplift is not simply the consequence of 'doing' some social promotion. Finding new recruits via social rather than via recruiters does not save you the recruitment fee for the rest of eternity (no management accountant would accept that math).

      Traditional accounting ratios were developed with simple value chains and tangible assets in mind, and are poorly suited to all variety of analyses involving complexity and intangible assets. Indeed, this was the very impetus for the development of BPM approaches.

      1. OK, here's what I've found with respect to the popularity, if you like, of Balanced Scorecards. I couldn't find anything about BPM in general unfortunately, although from experience I often find organisations operating non-financial based performance measurement that doesn't constitute the full scope of the Balanced Scorecard.

        Bain & Company conducts an annual survey of "Management Tools & Trends" for which it claims a database of 12,000 respondents (ie, that's not the number of respondents for each survey). The following link shows the survey results for the Balanced Scorecard.

        http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/management-tools-balanced-scorecard.aspx

        It appears adoption peaked in 2006 with two thirds of respondents claiming they used the Scorecard approach. This has declined since to about 37% in 2012 (it's difficult to read the chart with great accuracy).

        From reading about BPM over the years I am aware that a variety of explanations are offered as to why some organisations try and fail to make it work. Saying that, perhaps I'm not over-simplifying it by attributing most failures to the simple fact that Scorecarding (indeed business) is hard work.

        I have invited a couple of full-time BPM experts to drop by here to see if they can help on this point in particular. Fingers crossed.

  4. Hi Philip,
    Very thought-provoking as always. Is it incumbent on us to build the bridge where one currently does not exist, or should organizations be building the bridge? Not sure the measurement industry should be leading here. And if we try to lead will anyone follow?

    When we currently develop good measurement programs, they are directly aligned to the organizational outcomes we are trying to drive. Creating this alignment is part of our job. It may be done with or without BPM as the context.

    I view BPM a bit like a religion. There are others that exist and have been in vogue at various times - TQM and MBO to name two. Some organizations even focus on more narrow concepts like NPS. The real question is not which 'religion' you follow, but is well implemented and creating the desired outcomes. There are many paths to 'heaven'.

    On ROI, it is easy to misapply it or to make an argument that it limits the value discussion to narrow sales and cost savings/avoidance thinking. I agree with this. Concepts like brand building and reputation management are difficult to quantify with ROI. ROI has a tendency to be short-term and transactional whereas brand and reputation happen over time and some of the benefits are intangible in nature. But, that does not mean that ROI never applies to marketing, public relations or social media. Some ROI determinations that result from modeling may contain some inherent flaws, but well-designed they serve a valuable optimization function in many organizations.

    Thanks for the discussion. -DB @Donbart

    1. Oh now that's interesting. This might explain some of our differences, perhaps?

      I don't think of myself as a member of the measurement industry for the simple reason that I'm not! Rather, my company is a management consultancy helping organisations benefit from social media and related technologies. Our purview is very much about business performance, about organisational alignment for brilliant execution.

      Saying that, I'd hope the measurement industry is keen to help its immediate customers acquit themselves within their respective organisations, to demonstrate accountability to the board in order to win the board's trust and respect in return.

      When it comes to alignment, the Balanced Scorecard and similar BPM approaches represent best practice today. (Can't vouch for tomorrow, but it's looking good after nearly two decades.) And if that's how the rest of the organisation is aligned, directed, focused, I advocate we plug into it rather than compete with it. Alignment is difficult enough without two frameworks competing for attention.

      And I agree with your balanced perspective of ROI. Perhaps, given the tug I feel from many individuals relentlessly demanding ROI calculations and absent appreciation of the value of a wider business performance framework, I tug harder the other way!

  5. I want firstly to apologise for throwing myself like a grenade into this debate, when I have been no part of your Conclave, have played little part in collective industry leadership towards measurement standards, and only recently joined the CIPR in an effort to redress that lack. But the issue of evaluation and measurement standards is something we should all have an interest in, so here goes.

    I was very excited when I first read Mr Sheldrake’s book The Business of Influence. The Balanced Scorecard is a highly complex, excellent system for business performance evaluation. There are others. I tried very hard in the first half of the last decade to utilize the Scorecard as a basis for communications evaluation in my role as a strategist/consultant specializing in communications, for two reasons.

    Firstly, my belief that communications strategists can only provide conclusive advice if they completely understand the implications of the business model that is being run, on the potential achievements of communications. This includes product architectures, product development, environment and behaviour (particularly for consumer brands). In other words, if they understand where the company is operationally mis-aligned and is creating a block on the potential success of communications strategies.

    My second reason for adopting the Balanced Scorecard was my hope that an ‘alliance’ with a globally respected business system would be advantageous in increasing the credibility of the industry at boardroom level.

    However, by around 2004/5 I found I was struggling. I was advocating that senior teams look at communications performance alongside BPM but didn’t have a clear system for how that could be done. I also came up against another barrier. I found that the complexity of the Balanced Scorecard system requires significant manpower, commitment, and intellect in the boardroom to adopt and implement it. And not all companies of all sizes and types have that resource. I have worked with other Brand Alignment consultancies who have encountered similar problems with Balanced Scorecard outside of multinationals. This is not a criticism of the management standards of companies who cannot get to grips with it, just a reflection of reality: excellence isn’t everywhere. Of course it should be, but it isn’t.

    I completely agree with Mr Sheldrake on the principal of building a bridge between business performance evaluation systems and communications efforts, although perhaps not with the focus being on the Business Scorecard to the exclusion of all else. It makes total sense and is the way forward. But it is still difficult to do in SMEs.

    The reality that we are also often working with in industry is an entrenched view at board level that PR practitioners have neither the strategic capability nor systems to be integrated into organizational review. This is partially still a hangover from a period when advertising agencies had the pre-eminence in delivering research, analysis and insights as well as measurement and evaluation. Of course this is not true of global multi-nationals such as have participated in the Conclave, but it is still very often the case even one level below that stratosphere.

    So whilst we need to aspire to the best, we also need to offer up a system which can be adopted and used by the less complex, the less able, and the less well-resourced companies (not to mention agencies) who cannot manage the Business Scorecard system. I don’t think that is ignoring the complexities, it is just instituting change from the bottom up rather than the top down.

    A simple and practical method I have found to work, is to request to set up an Evaluation Working Group inside a company to bring together communications, marketing, agencies, product development, customer service, and other critical departments such as finance. It encourages the organization to look at communications-related evaluation as being part of the whole organizational process.

    I think what the Conclave has produced is a really good step forward towards that goal from the point of view of social media measurement even though we should still aspire to deal with greater complexity.

    This brings me to my second point which is where my efforts currently lie: education. After a year in academia trying to rewrite existing public relations degrees and research and write new Honours Degrees and Integrated Masters courses in communications, I believe even more strongly that the industry – whilst it continues to provide education itself – must engage with academia to ensure these developments are integrated into all and any available communications courses.

    So many of my students came back after work placements in brands and small to medium sized agencies to pose the question to me “You told us never to consider AVEs as a measurement methodology but the brand/the agency uses it.” Clear methodologies, actively supported by all the organizations in which you all work, will go a long way towards giving future PR practitioners the courage to stand up for effective measurement standards that many academics are trying to integrate into education. And those students represent the future you are all working so hard towards.

    Its great progress and I congratulate you all on your considerable efforts and hope you will not mind that a total unknown outside has decided to lob herself into your fascinating debate!

    1. Thanks Jenny for making a great contribution to this debate. The number of practitioners who have attempted to make the connection between PR /communications / social and BPM are too few and far between right now, so your "grenade" is most welcome!

      You make the points that the Balanced Scorecard done well is hard work, and that we shouldn't ignore other BPM approaches. This reflects a point Don makes earlier here about the adoption levels of the Balanced Scorecard.

      I should point out that I usually have the discipline to write "the Balanced Scorecard and other BPM frameworks", or words to that effect. So I'm not thinking Balanced Scorecard exclusively, although it is the one with which I'm most familiar.

      BPM done well is hard work, and while the dividends should make it worth while I often find 'variations on a theme' or more precisely 'simpler variations on a theme'. Regardless, I'm advocating building a bridge between "the [media] measurement industry", as Don calls it, and performance management (i.e. that involving non-financial metrics seeking to guide as well as measure performance).

      You proceed to identify with those organisations, often smaller, that do not yet have sophisticated BPM. I totally share your empathy albeit conditionally. I'm afraid that any organisation that lacks the leadership to implement any kind of BPM lacks the savvy to prioritise PR / comms / social measurement. BPM is a pre-condition for best practice PR / comms / social measurement in my opinion.

      I will try and keep this response brief by simply agreeing with you about the continued need to educate everyone involved in PR / comms / social sooner than later, to everyone's advantage.

  6. Hello Phil,

    I said that there were points I might have disagreed with. On reflection, I was wrong, I agree with the points you have made - serves me right for posting about it on the bus.

    Personally, I feel a distinction between cognition and behaviour would help. In other words actions that can be observed or counted (clicks, purchases) and those that can only be inferred (sentiment, NPS). Behaviour is always more valuable and more accurate.

    However I do have a bugbear. As communicators there is little we can argue with in the developed frameworks, they sound good, they are becoming easier and they will help us do our jobs better. So why aren't things moving forward more quickly?

    Perhaps it's because the business metrics we need to prove value for are not being measured outside of the comms department/agency. Could it be that measurement isn't a PR problem but a business/management problem?

    1. Thanks Joe. Your point about the rate at which organisations are adopting "best practice" BPM, whether the Balanced Scorecard or alternatives or variations thereof, is a point well made. I've inserted a reply to Don above that links to an annual survey by Bain & Company that shows declining use of the Balanced Scorecard (it does not say anything about alternatives). I don't know why this might be, and from experience only I think it's likely that many organisations have alternative or simpler BPM. I have contacted some full-time BPM consultants / thought-leaders to see if they might drop in here and share their perspective on the matter.

  7. Phil ... I am one of the BPM thought leaders that you contacted. (I have authored two popular BPM books.) I like your dialog.

    Let me first clarify that BPM (also referred to as enterprise or corporate performance management (EPM / CPM ) is much broader than just performance measures (BSC). It has many components including customer profitability analysis, strategy execution, process improvement, and driver-based rolling forecasts. (I have added "analytics" to them.)

    I believe Bain's survey observation that BSC is declining is misleading. One cause is that BSC's pre-requisite, a strategy map, is often skipped. It is more critical. Its companion BSC is simply a feedback mechanism of the KPIs that should be derived from the strategic objectives defined by the executive team in their strategy map.

    Your discussion is about motivational theory and broadening the scope about to include social media as a source of economic value creation for a company (including public sector governments). In these regards, this discussion is very relevant. For starters, BSC KPIs tied to employee compensation appears to be less effective than initially perceived. (As Daniel Pink describes in his book "Drive.")

    I will stop writing now, and just state that this topic deserves nor attention. Thanks.

    Gary ... Gary Cokins

    1. Thanks very much for taking the time to contribute your knowledge here Gary.

      I think you might be right about the presence / absence of strategy maps in Bain's assessment above. In fact, when I think about my description above about seeing "simpler variations on a theme", it usually entails having a form of scorecard adrift of a map, which may not then qualify in Bain's terms.

      And you hit the nail on the head in describing "social" as a source of economic value. Social media and related technologies are permeating every single aspect of organisational life and redefining the facility for people to coalesce by need and desire, knowledge and capability and shared values, to create shared value. This demands investment in human, information and organisation assets of course, following the rigorous cascade from mission through strategy to tactics and the selection of relevant social media metrics.

      Now here's the question I think we must grapple with. How might we get all aspects of PR / comms / social performance integrated into existing BPM frameworks, employing the recent progress made by AMEC and the wider Conclave described above?

      I remain an advocate of the process I first described in my book, The Business of Influence, but as you can see we have some way to go to understand each other's points of view and forge consensus.

What do you think?...