Philip Sheldrake

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“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

Money

Let's talk about money.

Michael Porter describes strategy as defining and attending to those activities at which an organisation must excel in order to create a sustainable difference in the marketplace, and thereby create sustained value for its shareholders (or sustainable value in the case of non-profits).

Once you've articulated why your organisation exists (the mission), and what you want it to be (the vision), the strategy describes the what, who, how, when and where needed to pursue the vision, and specifically how these differ from the competition. How these help beat your competition.

However, as hard as strategy formulation is, the really hard part is putting it into action. The Balanced Scorecard Institute finds that 70% of organisations with a strategy simply fail to execute it. And this becomes the more obvious the further away from the sale / the product / the service you get; the more you get into the intangible assets pivotal to your success.

Marketing and PR are intangible assets. They are intangible investments. We all know that the right mix of the panoply of marketing and PR activities is essential to organisational success – to the successful definition of organisational strategy and its execution – but too often we're not quite sure how so. This is most apparent when, particularly in harder times, marketing and PR are considered cost centres first and foremost, and cost centres that can be cut. Read more

Real-Time Marketing & PR

Real-Time Marketing & PRDavid Meerman Scott's new book is out, Real-Time Marketing & PR – How to instantly engage your market, connect with customers, and create products that grow your business now.

I've been gearing a client up for real-time marketing and PR recently. I'm in the midst of helping them prepare for the launch of a gorgeous new app for iPhone, iPod Touch and Android in November. (Ping me if you're interested in social news readers and I'll make sure you get your hands on it as soon as.) And part of that preparation has focused on the active listening capabilities and the workflow management needed to keep on top of the conversation and in the conversation. Thanks to the team at Nielsen Buzzmetrics, we have prepared all the search terms and we've made use of existing infrastructure to make sure the team understands who needs to respond and by when, as efficiently as possible without headache!

GetSatisfaction is procured and configured to tempt the world to hang out in 'our place' to discuss things, but no organisation can insist the conversation takes place in one or two places of course... it's our responsibility to be listening and helping and sharing and working together with customers in defining the future roadmap wherever they want to do so. Facebook. Twitter. Blogs. Forums. Email.

I've only just got my copy of David's book but will be sure to post a book review as soon as I can (the manuscript for my book is due early November so I'm just slightly chocker!) But I can vouch for a cracking few pages in David's book on Social Web Analytics... 'cos he quotes me :-)

Here's a video of David presenting about real-time PR, and you can get the first chapter of his book here for free!

Real-Time Marketing & PR from David Meerman Scott on Vimeo.

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

How the Influence Scorecard radically transforms marketing and PR

OK, so the title of this post grabbed your attention. Regular readers will know that we ran the first Influence Scorecard workshop in New York last week, and I took the action to diagrammatically represent the journey we've embarked on. And here it is. And you can track its progress, indeed join our team, at http://influencescorecard.wikispaces.com.

influence scorecard architecture draft

This is a first stab, and at a guess represents a three-year journey, at least for the early adopters most aggressively seeking competitive advantage via their approach to all six influence flows.

That's contingent of course upon the leading social Web analytics vendors quickly picking up this approach and developing their products and services accordingly. Read more

Influence… it's a numbers game

Andrew Smith tickled my fractal with his post yesterday "Where are the PR Numerati?" (and here on MarCom Professional). Why? Because he's right and I'm numerate and I'm in PR. His post was prompted by the August 2008 book "The Numerati" by senior Business Week writer Stephen Baker.

Public relations had been boiled down to a very simple process by the end of the 1990s. Journalists write the papers and magazines the public reads. The PRs know the journalists. The clients retain the PR professionals.

That simple world is no more. I don't mean that traditional media relations no longer exists, only that it is now just a sub-set of a far more complex map of exerting influence.  The best PR professionals will: Read more

Giving your PR a work out; exercising your PR in tough times

I received three emails on the back of my post last week "When the going gets tough, the tough get communicating - or why the tough need muscles". I guess getting emails rather than comments underlines the more private nature of such discussions. The post finished by promising to come back with "ways to get your marketing communications to the gym", and that's the subject here.

If you have a good personal trainer, what do they do for you? They bring discipline. They set targets and encourage you to meet them. They don't waste your time with activity that doesn't contribute to hitting those targets. They keep track of progress and get to know your strengths and weaknesses, literally, and often better than you.

In many ways, this is analogous to your public relations consultancy. As I said in my last post, your marketing communications is muscle and not fat. If you work with a great consultancy, this muscle will be toned and responsive to current market conditions and challenges (if it’s not, change it today). Read more

When the going gets tough, the tough get communicating – or why the tough need muscles

Times are hard. It appears that the people running our financial systems lost control. And whilst the pundits argue the difference between high finance and the so-called "real economy", your investors, your shareholders, will be demanding to know how your board is going to respond to scenarios including zero revenue growth and revenue decline in 2009.

When the going gets tough, the tough get communicating.

Here's a few thoughts regarding the criticality of public relations in recessionary periods. Read more

Your first job in PR… questions you should prepare for and questions you should ask in the job interview

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You’ve just graduated and you’re looking for your first job in public relations.  Your first interview is approaching, and you want to make the second interview stage, of course!  You visit the company’s website, polish your shoes and get to their offices half an hour too early :-)

Now what?  Can you talk about your approach to press releases?  No.  Can you discuss case studies?  No.  Can you describe the work environment in which you’ll thrive?  Not articulately, without work experience.  Should the interviewer really ask you any of these?  No.  So what goes on beyond the “Tell me about yourself” opener?  How should you prepare?

Here’s my list of questions you should be prepared for, and the kind of questions you should consider asking.  Actually, I’ve just made my co-directors a nice cup of tea to persuade them to contribute to this list too, so thanks to Blaise and Jay.

Questions you should prepare for

“Tell me about yourself.”

A gift. A lovely open question inviting you to present your best facets.  If you can’t represent yourself in response to a question like this, then the interviewer will really wonder how you can represent their clients! Read more