Siddhartha Mukherjee: PR measurement is used to please bosses, rarely to build brands!

13 Jul,2017

By Siddhartha Mukherjee

 

The core objective of having a communication research and measurement mechanism is to build and manage a brand – Corporate or Product. Our industry has established ways of measuring Communications – PR, Advertising or any other tool for that matter. Irrespective of print, TV or online mediums, count of clips, column or square centimetres (space), GRPs or any other quantitative and qualitative indicesare readily available for marketing and communications custodians to build brands.

Unfortunately though, very rarely have I seen that measurement, analytics and reports are being used to build brands. In majority of cases, it is being used to please bosses! If you look at PR in particular, data sets being used by client contact points to showcase PR efforts and how it is benefitting the organisation is not only laughable but also discouraging, to say the least. It is largely being used as a mathematicallymanaged (self) gratification scorecard.

These dynamics come into limelight when you look at two types of professionals in the industry. First, one who believes that PR is a brand building tool and nothing else. Second, who believes that PR is an ego massaging tool and nothing else. The problem starts and ends with the latter. Using PR to build brand is strategic and is hardwork. Using PR to “please” and massage egos is easy and doesnot require planning or much effort.

Like first, the second category are also present both in PR agencies as well as in the client side. In both, there are “bosses” who are getting pleased consciously or unconsciously.

 

Some quick thoughts:

1. Who are these Bosses?:

Well, they are primarily users or rather the potential direct and indirect scientific beneficiaries of every PR Communications. CEO, Marketing & Sales Heads, HR Head, Finance Head, CorpComm Heads, PR Agency Heads, Account Heads and so on.  This is the simple part of the question-answer series.

 

2 Are these Bosses being “Pleased” or have they have chosen this convenience themselves?

Well, in most of the cases, as far as the CXOs within the Corporate Organisations are concerned, they are being “Pleased”. Who are they being “pleased” by? Well, definitely without generalizing though, it is some select people within Corporate Communications and/or PR Agency functions. They work towards first understanding the personality traits of these HEADS/CXOs and figure out whether this individual will get “pleased” with self-gratifying, ego massaging “pleasing” data or does it have to be hard core brands data that involves details of exposure, target audience, messaging, market & ROI data and so on.

As for the rest, they have consciously chosen to be “pleased” because for them PR is a Tool that is used for ego massages! Also, it is easy.

 

3. How does the “Pleasing” mechanism work?

Well, to start with, the “Pleasers” study their target audience (bosses or person they report to) well. Doesnot take much to understand if ones boss or reporting person on the client side is marketing/measurement numbers savvy or not. Normally, very few are genuinely so.

Once that is identified, measurement can be used to emotionally manage or satisfy the boss. Count of articles, thickness of Clippings folder, Advertising Value Equivalent, Photograph of the boss in news coverage vs competition, interviews of the boss vs competition, getting coverage in Publications or TV Channels that boss or boss’s family reads or watches, so on and so forth.

 

4. Ideally, how should Measurement scores be used?

Well, first, one should be very clear as to why measurement systems are in place. CXOs, CorpComm and PR Agency should be on the same page on this bit. Till that time, measurement should not start at all. Second, the bosses, on the client (Corporate) side, are mere Spokespersons we are talking about. They cannot be bigger than the interest of the Corporate and Product Brand. PR is not for massaging their egos and a pleasing mechanism. It is purely to build brands by fine tuning Communications strategies and tactics.

On the agency side, the bosses need to understand that it is because of their “Pleasing” approach that our Industry doesnot have any recognition or respect outside this industry.

ROI (Returns on Investment) or ROO (Returns on Objectives) should be the bedrock of all that measurement matrix the Client and Agency is using.

 

5 .How can one change this?

Not sure where to start. All I know is that there are many starting points. PR Industry body can bring in a change. PR Agency or Agencies who are doing this kind of work should do PR on it. Clients can start using a clear code of PR Usage within the Organisation. Corporate Communication Professionals Bodies can roll out policies.

Let me assure you that there are clients (corporates) who are staying clear from PR’s “pleasing” mechanism. They are using PR and its measurement clearly from Brand ROI and ROO perspective. This has forced the PR agencies to shape up, think, deliver and talk the language of brand building. They are getting paid (better) because of this and not “pleasing” mechanism.

 

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2 responses to “Siddhartha Mukherjee: PR measurement is used to please bosses, rarely to build brands!”

  1. Anthony A. Seal says:

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  2. Anthony A. Seal says:

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