The PR industry got very excited about the recent 2nd European Summit on Measurement in Barcelona. As we’re now well into the quiet summer months for the European Electronics media, I thought it might be worth commenting on the seven key principles of evaluation that the summit produced. They were:

1. Goal setting and measurement are important
2. Media measurement requires quantity and quality
3. AVEs are not the Value of Public Relations
– Do not measure the value of PR or future activity
– Where comparisons are made validated metrics should be used
– Multipliers should never be applied unless proven to exist
4. Social media can and should be measured
5. Measuring outcomes is preferred to measuring media results (outputs)
6. Organisational results and outcomes should be measured whenever possible
7. Transparency and replicability are paramount to sound measurement

If you’re not heavily into PR, most of these ideas probably seem like basic common sense – set goals, define success in terms of the impact on the business/organisation, be transparent, etc. Whenever you get PR people to talk about measurement, you’ll also always have a furious attack on AVE, and those at Barcelona didn’t disappoint. Quite why AVE has to be picked out from the many different, flawed measurement approaches being used today, I’m never sure. Personally I’ve never seen AVE as inherently evil: it’s just a lazy, thoughtless and somewhat irrelevant measure. At least the declaration makes it clear that PR performs a different function from advertising – something I strongly agree with.

What does the declaration mean for marketing professionals in the electronics industry? Probably very little – it’s unlikely to affect anything you do tomorrow, even though the goal of achieving better measurement of PR campaign is something that agencies and clients would both love to achieve.

At Napier we work on many payment-by-results (PBR) projects. I appreciate that many other agencies don’t “approve” of PBR, but there is one reason we love it. When money is at stake, clients give us very clear, specific and measurable goals. We don’t get asked to “issue x releases per year”, we get told “I must get coverage in publication y” or “product z must be described in the trade press as the fastest/biggest/smallest”. I know that PBR isn’t for everyone (some of our clients choose not to use it), but perhaps if everyone imagines that the fee level depends upon hitting the metrics, we will all define better and clearer measurement for our campaigns.