Siddhartha Mukherjee: PR Measurement – Huge Gap in Desired v/s Achieved

24 Sep,2020

By Siddhartha Mukherjee

 

It took close to three decades of umpteen seminars, media write-ups and plenty of PR campaign failures, ineffective evaluation of Corp Comm desks and PR agencies to reach today’s state of PR Monitoring (and not measurement).

 

As a score, what the industry has achieved is a disciplined behaviour to regularly monitor the PR scores of the brands they represent and its competition.

 

This, by itself, is a big achievement because till some years ago, almost 30% of the industry members did not feel the need to regularly monitor the PR score needle.

 

However, the discussion on the Desired versus Achieved gap comes into account when we look at the progress of industry’s transition from PR Monitoring to Measurement.

 

Here are some observations:

1. Over-dependence on Output and not Outcome: The biggest problem is that the PR and Corporate Communications industry still depend on output and not outcomes. Rarely does the industry realise that the C-suite will look at the impact on the business. Till such time, the C-suite will continue looking at PR & Corporate Communications Machinery as a personal gratification tool.

2. To be fair, I know of some (very few actually) visionary industry captains have progressed to the Business Impact or Outcome line of thinking. Howver, the challenge they face is that the current measurement system has still not adapted itself to the new measure. While news and views exposure measuring metrices are there, what is missing is the ability to directly correlate a successful PR campaign to actual business outcome.

3. Most often than not, clients do not start with “Why am I doing this PR Activity? Therefore, what do I measure?”. Which is why, most of the times, the objectives are not measurable.

4. One of the key things that usage of PR Measurement does at the ground level is that it creates a SWOT for the Organisation, especially the Corporate Communications Team. Which is why I have have always believed that PR measurement is a zone of those who are brave hearted. It is exactly this reason that a very small percentage of them in the agency and corporate side are now seriously exploring, talking and discussing measurement seriously. The remaining part of the industry is not doing measurement, but what they are doing is actually PR monitoring.

5. PR measurement basically all about outcome. It is all about what the benefit or the what outcome is on my brand and business health.

 

I think it’s a good time now for industry leaders, PR service providers and PR measurement service providers to come forward and drive a campaign on the difference between PR Monitoring versus Measurement.

 

Siddhartha Mukherjee is a senior marketing services research professional. He was until last year Business Head at Eikona and is currently Founder of Brand Balance (brandbalance.in). This column appears every other Thursday.

 

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