How to Improve Public Relations (PR) Standards

Today, major steps are being taken by some leading organizations to improve the constantly deteriorating standards of public relations (PR) services.

It’s believed that PR work has fallen to a level of a mere courier service to deliver crudely written press releases and to arrange useless dinner dance parties in hotels. And PR profession is for unskilled workers like courier delivery boys and girls who lack communication skills.

With ad hoc impact measurement procedures and ordinary workers, PR agencies mostly believed in hoodwinking the companies that hired PR services thinking these are cheaper as compared to ad-based promotions for their brands. (Read: 5 Reasons to Say Goodbye to PR Worker)

Now, four companies that are major buyers of public relations research and measurement services have adopted the first round of standards proposed by an international coalition leading the development of such standards.

The corporations requiring public relations research providers to meet the standards include General Electric, McDonald’s USA, General Motors and Southwest Airlines.

“This is a significant, strategic step forward for the public relations industry as we strive to establish more meaningful and consistent data and metrics,” said Molly McKenna, director of Public Relations, McDonald’s USA. “Consistent standards will help researchers, agencies and brands move further to better connect PR outputs with business outcomes.”

[ Also Read: Five Rules to Write a Press Release for Digital Media ]

The Coalition for Public Relations Research was formed in 2012 to create a platform of standards for research and measurement.

The first set of adopted standards covers traditional media measurement, digital and social media measurement, communications lifecycle (awareness, knowledge, intent, preference, and advocacy), and return on investment.

[ Also Read: How to Measure ROI of Public Relations ]

In addition to McKenna, the customer panel members include Linda Rutherford, Vice President of Communication & Outreach, Southwest Airlines; Jackie Matthews, Communications Research Strategist for General Motors; and Gary Sheffer, Vice President-Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, General Electric.

The Coalition was formed to create a broad platform of standards and best practices for public relations research, measurement and evaluation.

[ Also Read: 15 Essential Areas of Digital Marketing ]

The participating organizations include the Public Relations Society of America, the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, the Institute for Public Relations, the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, the Council of Public Relations Firms, and The Conclave.

[ Also Read: World Public Relations Forum in Madrid ]

The customer-approved standards are being published by all six organizations and can be found at http://www.instituteforpr.org/researchstandards/.

Further research will be conducted to confirm the validity and reliability of the standards. The coalition will periodically review and revise the standards based on industry needs and as technology continues to progress.

Southwest Airlines made this announcement Wednesday, Oct. 16.

Photo courtesy: Southwest Airlines

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