By Cheril Lewis | June 30th, 2021
Last summer, Barcelona Principles 3.0 for PR measurement was launched by the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) in London and streamed to PR professionals around the world. The 2020 evolution of the globally trusted Barcelona Principles works to sharpen the communications industry’s focus on inclusion, impact and integrity.
It is 10 years since the Barcelona Principles first presented an industry-wide consensus on measurement and evaluation, and five years since its last update. Not surprisingly, much has changed over that time.
Barcelona Principles 3.0 has broadened its relevance to a wider and more diverse range of organizations and roles to reflect that measurement and evaluation best practice is as important in government communications and charities as it is in NGOs and non-commercial entities.
Universal has always aligned itself with the Barcelona Principles to take a holistic approach to the measurement we provide clients. The Barcelona Principles were revised in 2020 to “tighten the communications industry’s focus on inclusion, impact and integrity.” Additionally, AMEC acknowledges that the industry changes rapidly and principles put into place even five years ago may be outdated.
When you put so much time and energy into creating a media campaign, you want to know how well it is performing. Real-time monitoring with comprehensive and ongoing analysis can provide you with a handy road map, alerting you to road bumps and potential detours you may have to make depending on the way your coverage is received.
Applied to PR Measurement
To take measurement of the ROI on your media efforts to the next level, you should start SMART. That means working within the framework of the Barcelona Principles.
Only conduct measurement and evaluation against defined goals. Your PR measurement goals should be SMART
Next up, you want to evaluate your media efforts! Measurement and evaluation should identify outputs, outcomes and potential impact. Demonstrating the impact of your efforts means studying your media coverage consistently over a period of time. At Universal we use our Impact Score for this.
You have defined your goals and you have identified potential impact. What’s next? It’s all about identifying impact and outcomes for stakeholders. To do this, you want to think beyond sales or service provided. You’re looking for things like how communication impacts brand recognition.
What is good PR Measurement?
Good measurement should include both numbers (quantitative) and narrative (qualitative). Application of a mixed-methods analysis should be specific to the target audience you want to engage with and be grounded in the goals you’ve set for your program. And if you can provide this information in an easy-to-digest format for your stakeholders, so much the better.
AVE’s are NOT the value of communication. What should you look for instead? Consider the quality of your coverage. The best method for doing this is using human-led content analysis for a deeper dive into message delivery and themes. Stories should be evaluated by trained PR analysts, without clumsy automation on the qualitative points generating false sentiment and tone scores. This ensures the highest level of reliability in PR measurement.
It’s important to use a holistic approach to communication measurement and evaluation. What does that mean? Basically, measurement and evaluation should be done across all applicable communication channels, including social media. Social listening and monitoring is often necessary to gauge the success of your media efforts. If you’re only tracking traditional media channels, you’re only getting part of your story.
And lastly, don’t forget that ethical and transparent practices are essential to measurement. It’s important to know where your information came from, what methodology it’s rooted in and what it means for your media efforts moving forward. Comprehensive media intelligence not only tells you how your efforts are working, but also provides insights as to where you may want to head in the future.
“To understand the full impact of your work, it is crucial that you use the full suite of methods to measure those outcomes,” summarized Ben Levine AMEC Board Director, talking about the importance of not just quantifying messages but understanding how they are being received, believed and interpreted.
Todd Murphy, CEO of Universal Information Services and long-time AMEC member, said: “This second round of enhancements, to the original Barcelona Principles, have two profound outcomes on measurement methodologies. First, focusing on the framework of your PR measurement truly allows your team to produce insight with high degree of confidence. Second, the impact of what is measured must allow your organization, and organizations of all types, to extract real meaning from their insights. In other words, this data is not helpful if it doesn’t clearly convey what you should do moving forward. Meaning and insight is really why an organization is measuring their efforts.”
AMEC is the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication.
It is the world’s largest media intelligence and insights professional body, representing organisations and practitioners who provide media evaluation and communication research.
AMEC has grown from 7 members to nearly 200 in its 25th Anniversary year, representing organisations based in 86+ countries worldwide, and more than 1,000 professionals dedicated to measurement and evaluations best practice across the globe.
AMEC thinks and operates internationally, forming working groups from different countries to collaborate on new initiatives, all reinforced by its vibrant Chapters in Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America.
The AMEC logo is regarded as an international mark of excellence in the provision of media evaluation and communication research services to clients,
AMEC’s pioneering work in the field has included the development of the Barcelona Principles; Barcelona Principles 2.0 and most recently, 3.0, the launch of the AMEC Integrated Evaluation Framework and the Measurement Maturity Mapper.
Cheril Lewis, Media Insight Director
Universal Information Services