Philip Sheldrake

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Tag: ave

Learning to measure and measuring to learn

PR measurement and evaluation
The CIPR is in the process of updating its research, measurement and evaluation guidelines (PDF). The current edition is dated March 2011 and harks back to when I used to chair the CIPR's measurement deliberations; the current initiative is being led by Matt McKay and Martin Turner.

Here's a short but important extract from the current guidance:

Every organisation should have a mission (why we exist), values (guiding behaviour), a vision (what do we want to be), objectives (breaking down the vision) and strategy (how we intend to get there / achieve the objectives). Given that measurement isn't just the detached collection, analysis and presentation of data but a powerful management tool in itself, a powerful way to align each employee’s day-to-day activities with the strategy, this cascade must continue robustly, transparently and visibly.

People perform as they are measured, so the measures must drive strategically important behaviour.

And as each marketplace is unique and as your organisation is unique, your strategy will be unique. And so, therefore, will be the suite of measures you design, deploy and manage by.

Read more

How many Tweets make a Like?

If you're looking for an acid test as to whether an organisation is centred in this social world, as to whether they have a marketing and communications strategy that integrates social media cogently and coherently rather than bolts it on, listen out for questions like this:

How much is a tweet / retweet / follower / friend / like / +1 / comment / whatevermetickle worth?

If this is the kind of question they're asking then, in my opinion, they simply don't yet 'get it'. If you're feeling particularly wicked, take your pick of one of these to respond to their question and see if they take you seriously:

  • $0.23 per hundred
  • A 'like' is definitely worth somewhere between 2 and 3 tweets; sort of around 2.42
  • A comment has an engagement quotient nine times that of a 'friend'
  • If you're in tech, then a +1 is currently five times more potent than a RT, but the reverse is true for other markets
  • That depends if you're B2B or B2C
  • Well, can I ask, is there any yellow in your logo?

In The Business of Influence (Chapter 5) I include the following table, titled "Maturity of influence approach". Read more

The ROI of Public Relations – Friday Roundup

The AMEC European Summit of 2010 is famous for killing anyone's lingering hopes that advertising value equivalence (AVE) represents any kind of measure of the value of PR. As I like to say, AVE is a specious sum based on false assumptions using an unfounded multiplier, only addressing a fraction of the PR domain. <sarcasm>Apart from that, it works just fine!</sarcasm>

This summer, the European Summit delegates set AMEC's top priority as determining an approach to measuring the return on investment (ROI) of public relations. Sounds a most admirable ambition, but should this be interpretted in the way I think it might, I fear we may be at risk of having dethroned one false idol only to pursue another.

Why? Because investment in public relations is investment in strategically important intangible assets, and such investments cannot be designed, executed or analysed in isolation. As Drs Kaplan and Norton put it in their 2004 book Strategy Maps:

"Economic justification of these strategic investments can be performed, but not in traditional ways. The common approach is on a stand-alone basis: ‘Show the ROI of the new IT application’, or ‘Demonstrate the payback from the HR training program.’ … But each investment or initiative is only one ingredient in the bigger recipe. Each is necessary, but not sufficient. Economic justification is determined by evaluating the return from the entire portfolio of investments in intangible assets…"

What does this mean? Well consider the hypothetical instance of two organisations designing, executing and analysing exactly the same public relations strategy delivering precisely the same results for the same investment. Read more

Friday Roundup – Goodbye AVEs

Following establishment of the Barcelona principles in June this year and the annihilation of any idea that AVEs (advertising value equivalents) represent the value of public relations, AMEC (the Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication) has moved on to ask two questions:

  • What are the “validated metrics” to replace AVEs?
  • How do you get started in measuring social media, and what are the definitions of relevant metrics?

This work is being led by the US Agency Research Leaders Group chaired by Ketchum’s David Rockland, and formed a significant chunk of the conversation at last week's IPR 8th Annual Measurement Summit.

If you're looking for one slidestack that walks you through the principles and explores the progress made to date in answering the questions above, check out this presentation: "Validated Metrics - Social Media Measurement", delivered during the summit by Mike Daniels (Director, Report International and Chair, AMEC) and Tim Marklein (Executive Vice President, Measurement & Strategy, Weber Shandwick), and moderated by Peter Wengryn, CEO, VMS.

I think the work to date is most definitely going the right way; seeking to identify the desired outcomes of a public relations programme and working backwards so to speak to establish metrics that belie the programme's success accordingly. And I was particularly pleased with slide 25 on influence rating / ranking which corroborates my recent contribution to the Monitoring Social Media conference, "the fallacy of the influentials".

This jigsaw is coming together. We will have some operationally sound frameworks available next year, and I'm hoping my own book, "The Influence Professional", might make some useful contribution when it emerges from the publishing process in Spring. Whatever the timeline, you should have begun winding down any remaining reliance you have on AVEs by now. It's not a case of waiting to transition from mediocity to good; AVEs don't even make the cut as mediocre, they are specious, misleading and unprofessional. Period. Read more

Friday Roundup – AVE v SWA

AVE. Three little letters I thought had been dragged and dropped into the PR waste basket some years back. Right next to "column inches", you know what I mean. Yet I have come across Advertising Value Equivalent no fewer than four times this week, coincidentally and oddly.

The first definition returned by a Google search is provided courtesy of SourceWatch: "...to 'measure' the benefit to a client from media coverage of a PR campaign". The description goes on to describe how you ask yourself the question "Mmmm, how much would this space have cost me to buy advertising stylee?" and then you multiply that by, oooh I don't know, 3, or 4, or 10?

Public Relations is about exerting influence and being influenced. We do this by sparking debate. Creating stimulating content, and demonstrating insight, passion and leadership by finding and starting conversations about the issues that matter to the marketplace, to our customers and prospects, and to our customers' customers.

What's the AVE of that conversation exactly? Read more