Philip Sheldrake

Menu Close

Tag: measurement (page 1 of 3)

Q&A with CIPR Influence magazine

CIPR Influence magazine

I was interviewed by Rob Smith, Editor, Influence magazine. Published in two parts, May 2016.


What does Influence mean to the public relations business currently? Is it more important since the rise of digital or has it always been at the heart of what it is to be a public relations professional?

You have been influenced when you think in a way you wouldn’t otherwise have thought or do something you wouldn’t otherwise have done. Unfortunately, the English language also has us using the word ‘influence’ in terms of something someone might possess.

I always prefer to work with the first meaning here for two reasons: first, the changing of hearts, minds and deeds is the actual object of interest to public relations professionals (reciprocally of course, more on which later); second, we might quantify the former better than the latter, and indeed many of the better attempts to score influence as something someone might possess rely to a certain extent on that capacity being demonstrated (ie, the former again).

What does this mean to PR practice right now? Well that depends on your flavour of practice, characterised rather usefully at this juncture by Andy Green as simply old school and new school. Read more

“A New Balanced Scorecard for Communications” – a critique

The Business of Influence, Sheldrake, Wiley, 2011

I've just been pointed to a recent post by Tim Marklein on The Measurement Standard, A New Balanced Scorecard for Communications. I can't endorse it as it stands, as I understand it, and this post explains why.

For a bit of background, this summary of the Balanced Scorecard and associated Strategy Maps is based on the one in my book, The Business of Influence, and is one of my post popular webpages attracting thousands of visitors every month ;-) Do check it out if the Scorecard is new to you.

Having been frustrated by the very narrow practice of public relations, by the plain wrong approaches to alignment and performance measurement, and by the seeming isolation of the PR function from the rest of the business at a time when its best qualities are more vital than ever, I sought in 2009 to crystallise my ideas to help organisations transition to a more relevant and mutually valuable model. Knowing that organisational change is hard, I focused on the dominant way some of the world's largest and most successful businesses seek to articulate and guide performance – the Balanced Scorecard – in order to tap into the monster's own strengths, jujitsu style.

I called the resultant framework the Influence Scorecard, and I was delighted that Robert Howie, then the Director of the Kaplan Norton Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame for Executing Strategy, penned the foreword. Read more

The quantified self, the quantified organization, and the organized self

quantified org self

The diagram here portrays where I'm going with this post, so let's dive in.

The quantified self

The current Wikipedia entry for quantified self (QS) describes it as "a movement to incorporate technology into data acquisition on aspects of a person's daily life in terms of inputs (e.g. food consumed, quality of surrounding air), states (e.g. mood, arousal, blood oxygen levels), and performance (mental and physical)."

And it doesn't stop at mere data acquisition of course; as the strapline for a major QS community puts it, we're looking at self knowledge through numbers. Adriana Lukas, founder and organiser at London Quantified Self Group, proselytizes self-managed QS, a future in which “expertise is supplied rather than outsourced”, where each of us acquires “agency as sense-maker”.

That's certainly a powerful and possibly quite natural vision, and one I wholeheartedly embrace. Yet it's also counter to the branded data siloes many a purveyor of QS gadgetry would, it seems, have one locked into. Adriana employs a turn of phrase, which may well be riffing off Doc Searls:

We can’t treat individuals as data cows to be milked for the data bucket.

The quantified organization

Lee Bryant, founder of PostShift, describes their take on 'quantified organization':

... a framework of organisational health measures, informed by theory and company goals, that can guide ongoing change in an agile, iterative way and assess the success or failure of change actions against a desired future operating state.

Read more

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

Measuring Public Relations – a presentation

I was invited to kick off the CharityComms "Made to Measure Communications" event today. Being a fan of measurement, or business performance management more widely, I'm always excited about meeting new people and sharing ideas and insights, but given that many find the topic a little dry to say the least, I'm grateful for any and all interaction and enthusiasm event attendees might muster. And today's audience didn't let me down, so thank you for that.

As promised, here's the stack.

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: Read more

Influence – request for comments

I'm chairing a session at midday today at the Social Media Measurement & Monitoring conference on selecting social media metrics. Joining me on the panel are Katie Delahaye Paine, Andrew Smith, Matt Owen, and Jacqui Taylor.

See you there?

To coincide with this event, I'm calling for comments regarding the standards setting process for the concept of influence ahead of the AMEC European Summit in June. Please take a look at this stack, and influence proceedings :-)

Setting the standards for influence

I'm a special advisor to AMEC (the Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication), wearing a CIPR hat as and when. I'm part of a working group assembling recommendations on the topic of influence for deliberation at the AMEC European Summit in Madrid this June. We have input from IPR, PRSA, Womma, SNCR, IAB and other groups, associations and institutes.

I took an action to create "something to shoot at", and I distributed the following over the weekend. On the basis that we're an open and transparent working group, I thought I'd post it here too. Do get in touch if you'd like to tell me what you think. Now's the time for dialogue – particularly if you can't attend the Madrid summit – ahead of the standards setting. Read more

Too good

[Originally written for the CIPR Friday Roundup.]

Regent Street London July 2012

The headline on my S3 this morning marks a marketing and PR lesson: Cameron urges people to return to capital amid 'ghost town' claims.

For the past several months, Londoners have been bombarded with messages begging them to adapt their normal routine during the Olympics period, to question their need to travel, to expect over-crowding and travel chaos in so many words.

My schedule hasn't changed. I'm jumping on the 94 from West London to Oxford Street every morning, and the return journey every evening, and it's been fantastic. The bus is half empty, the roads are half empty, and the journey time is the quickest I've ever known. But what's good for me hasn't been good for central London restaurants, theatre and other consumer serving business.

So this begs the interesting question, can a communications campaign over-communicate? Success in this instance has not increased in proportion with the resonance of the message. The resonance has been too great and we have overshot the happy optimal balance.

From a measurement and evaluation perspective, the output metrics will be out of line with the desired outcome. The output metrics will look awesome, the outcome looks considerably less so.

Despite this hiccup, it's been a fantastic games so far, excepting that badminton match, and I'm looking forward to the second week and a couple of dinners in town.

The hunt for a new universal measure – we will never find it

PR Week podcast screenshot

The title of this post is one of my contributions to the recent PR Week video podcast on measurement where I was a guest alongside SpectrumInsight's Mark Westaby. PR Week's Sara Luker was in the chair, and it was fifteen minutes of good conversation.

As I say upfront, I'm a bit more optimistic than Mark about the future of the measurement and accountability of public relations, if only because I have faith in the Influence Scorecard approach.

For some reason only understood by PR Week I'm sure, the video cannot be embedded here, or indeed on PR Week's website. Not very social of them! It stands alone over on Brightcove, but you can click here to go and watch it now.

The accompanying article in PR Week is: "Measurement in PR has not changed in 20 years, say PROs". (PR Week may stop you reaching the article if you're not a subscriber, but at the time of writing any article on prweek.com is accessible if you search for the title on Google and then click the relevant search result.)