How to Measure ROI of Public Relations

Developing global standards for social media measurement, further education of the PR profession, and new work on the ROI (Return on Investment) of public relations emerged as the top priorities by delegates at the 3rd European Summit on Measurement in Lisbon last week.

Measurement professionals, PR agencies and clients from 33 countries attended the Lisbon Summit to chart a course for the future of public relations research, measurement and evaluation.

Nearly 200 delegates created the Measurement Agenda, 2020, a series of action steps to build upon the outcome of the Measurement Summit a year ago, in Barcelona, where a similar international group of delegates created the Barcelona Principles of Measurement.

Both campaigns are led by AMEC, the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communications and the Institute for Public Relations, the organisers of the Summits.

Such steps were required, as PR business is mostly run in a totally unprofessional and unethical way. It’s believed that those who are incapable of doing anything come and join PR profession.

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)

AMEC’s chairman, Mike Daniels, said: “The Summit identified some significant challenges for the PR profession to address by 2020. However, what we also accomplished in Lisbon beyond setting the priorities was to harness the commitment and energy of the industry to agree what we need to do together.”

Five industry organisations took part in the Measurement Agenda 2020 debate in Lisbon: Public Relations Society of America, ICCO, Institute for Public Relations Commission on Measurement and Evaluation, AMEC and the Council of PR Firms.

They were joined by speakers from top global corporations, including FedEx, Microsoft and Philips.

Delegates voted from among 12 issues, or priorities, as to what is most important to focus on in the years ahead. The top vote-getters in rank order were:

  • How to measure the return on investment (ROI) of public relations (89%)
  • Create and adopt global standards for social media measurement (83%)
  • Measurement of PR campaigns and programmes needs to become an intrinsic part of the PR toolkit (73%)
  • Institute a client education program such that clients insist on measurement of outputs, outcomes and business results from PR programs (61%)

The three-day conference (Lisbon European Summit), 8-10 June, 2011, was designed for communications and public relations professionals and academics to share the latest thinking about measurement and evaluation of public relations programming.

AMEC released the information today, June 14.

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Rakesh Raman