FiftyOneZeroOne

Archive for the ‘PR Research’ Category

Recently, I undertook research with Dr Chindu Sreedharan, for the Institute of Public Relations on the skills and training needs of future senior communicators. It was a study amongst top corporate and consultancy communicators in Europe and North America to identify the skills future leaders needed, and training and education to prepare them. A video of my presentation of the report was recently made for the Public Relations Institute of Australia.

One of the key comments that framed the study came from a top European corporate communicator: “It’s no longer sufficient to have a communications background only. Senior communicators need to understand business environment and management styles to be seen as trusted advisors.”

This view that top-level communicators had to understand all the operations of a major organisation was widespread and pointed towards practice developments and education that focus on strategy development and the integration of communication objectives with organisational objectives and KPIs.  The report had three groups of conclusions for early implementation:

 Practice

  • Communication strategy must be linked to or part of business strategy
  • Communicators should understand the whole business environment, not just media and communication
  • Operational experience needed; They need to speak language of the business

 Training and Education

  • Key subjects are business strategy, financial literacy, economics, public affairs and public diplomacy, and relationship management
  • Stronger focus is needed on research and business analysis skills

 Proof of Performance

  • The ability to interpret and apply the most appropriate research methods is more important than technical measurement skills
  • Evaluation frameworks need to be developed for judgement on organisational impact, not clip measurement
  • Planning skills need improvement

 The full report is available at: http://www.instituteforpr.org/ipr_info/future_leaders/

In a cross between crowd-sourcing and Eurovision voting, the 100+ delegates at the European Summit on Measurement in Lisbon voted for five draft statements of needs that may end up in the Measurement Agenda 2020.

This will be the next stage of international policy development in PR measurement and evaluation, following on from the seven Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles agreed last year.

The statements are:

  • Create and adopt global standards for social media measurement;
  • Identify how to measure the Return on Investment of PR [a crowd source suggestion];
  • Measurement of PR campaigns and programs needs to become an intrinsic part of the PR toolkit;
  • Institute a client education program such as clients insist on measurement of outputs, outcomes and business results from PR programs;
  • Define approaches that show how corporate reputation builds/creates value.

The statements will go to conference delegates in mid-July for further comment. They were chosen from statements prepared from responses to an informal survey of delegates and other practitioners undertaken in recent weeks.  The wide range of academic research on PR measurement wasn’t taken into account.

This seems to be a less-than-robust method of data collection for policy-making when, for instance, a Delphi study amongst leading practitioners could have developed the propositions with greater certainty of future application.  Perhaps Barcelona Principle 7: “Transparency and replicability are paramount to sound measurement “, should have been kept in mind.

Recently Prof Ansgar Zerfass of Leipzig University used the terms ‘rituals of measurement’ and ‘rituals of verification’ to describe the demands for numerical proof of communication effectiveness. He was making the point that what was being measured was what could be measured in a quantitative manner, not what needed to be judged such as outcome and value-links. Often process is measured in PR, not whether communication strategies have reached the objectives.

At AMEC’s 3rd European Summit on Measurement in Lisbon, a major discussion about social media measurement has started. In a wide-ranging discussion today, the 170 delegates made their first contributions on whether there was a need for standards in social media measurement.

Three factors were identified – Engagement, Influence and Sentiment. Richard Bagnall made the point that these were often judged with widely varying criteria. The discussion that followed for an hour or more revolved about defining these terms and the types of data that could be applied to them. No decisions have been made but I wonder whether the discussion “can’t see the wood for the trees.”

Surely the main judgement is whether the communication activity, which uses social media amongst its strategies, is effective in reaching its objectives. The AMEC discussion was focused on mining data on the social media-led conversation from user traffic and the level of participation. For example, is there a difference in ‘engagement’ between clicking on an online link and looking at it(read), opening the link and commenting about it (respond) and sending it on to others (share)? Is this ‘engagement’ or ‘grazing’ information? Is it an active or passive process? And can this data on ‘engagement’ indicate future action, advocacy or behavioural change?

Rather than define these terms by a discussion amongst technical users of data, it would make long-term sense to invert the process and approach it from the user point of view. The definition of engagement could then be both more valid in terms of communication psychology and indicate outcomes rather than intermediary processes. Without this perspective, the definitions could become additional ‘rituals of measurement’.

In addition to the discussion, some interesting ‘nuggets’ of social media usage came forward:

– 30-40% of social media users offer up substantial information on their demographics and geographical position which can be used for monitoring and targeted messages;

– Social media, especially Twitter, is farmed by companies for data on customer attitudes towards them and their products rather than analysed for effective communication;

– Many large corporate in the US use Twitter as a listening tool, rather than take an active part in it;

– In addition to AMEC, there are at least seven other communication organisations looking to define methods of social media analysis, with the PR sector trailing behind promotional communications.

This is a last call for your views on the use of the term, Return on Investment (ROI), in PR. I’m researching into practitioner use and understanding of ROI and will report on my findings to PR Moment’s ROI Conference in London on March 3 and at the International PR Research Conference in Miami a week later. It will also be reported on this blog.

I’ve prepared a short survey (just click through to it) which takes 10 minutes to complete. Already, early data responses are showing up some strong differences between areas of practices and on specific propositions.

As ROI is often a judgement on communication effectiveness, I hope you will take part in this very relevant study. Comments and feedback are welcome, too.

[This second update update includes two new novels on PR from 1948 and 1958 referred to in Marvin N Olasky’s Corporate Public Relations (1987, LEA) and a new paper on the history of film representations of PR from Australian academic Jane Johnston which was presented at the First International History of Public Relations Conference last year.]

In 2007, I asked PR educator colleagues in the UK for help in developing a list of films, television and radio programmes/series and books that either featured public relations as a core issue or referred to it in a passing way. They responded enthusiastically with suggestions that went back into the 1950s and forward to the present including films on current release and a soap opera set in a real PR consultancy in Manchester, UK. It was added to in 2008 with other references. Here’s the list we came up with – Can you add to it so that we have a world-wide resource on the visual and fictional presentation of PR?

FILMS:

Wag the Dog

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120885/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wag_the_Dog

Thank You for Smoking

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0427944/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thank_You_for_Smoking

America’s Sweethearts

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0265029/

The Sweet Smell of Success

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_Smell_of_Success

 The Devil wears Prada

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devil_Wears_Prada_(film)

The Control Room

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_Room_(film)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0391024/ 

Hancock (Alcoholic superhero cuckolds his PR man)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0448157/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hancock_(film)

The China Syndrome

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078966/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Syndrome

Sliding Doors – key character works in PR

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sliding_Doors

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120148/

Bridget Jones’s Diary

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridget_Jones’s_Diary

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0243155/

Days of Wine and Roses

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Days_of_Wine_and_Roses_(1962_film)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055895/

Four’s a Crowd

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four%27s_a_Crowd

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0030151/

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_in_the_Gray_Flannel_Suit

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049474/

Phone Booth

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phone_Booth_(film)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0183649/

Primary Colors

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_Colors_(film)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119942/

Sex and the City (movie)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_and_the_City_(film)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1000774/

Waikiki Wedding

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waikiki_Wedding

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0029742/

Jersey Girl

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0300051/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jersey_Girl_(2004_film)

The Island

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0399201/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Island_(2005_film)

 In the Loop

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1226…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Loop_(film)

 

DOCUMENTARIES AND POLEMICS:

Roger and Me

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098213/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_&_Me

Century of the Self

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/features/century_of_the_self.shtml

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Century_of_the_Self

The War Room

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_War_Room

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0413845/   

The Corporation

http://www.thecorporation.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Corporation

The War You Don’t See (John Pilger)

http://www.johnpilger.com/videos/the-war-you-dont-see-trailer

Steel City

http://www.abc.net.au/tv/documentaries/stories/s200734.htm

 

TELEVISION:

Absolutely Fabulous

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolutely_Fabulous

http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/abfab/

Absolute Power

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_Power_(comedy)

The Thick of It

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thick_of_It

Some Mothers do Have’Em

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Some_Mothers_Do_’Ave_’Em – Series two, episode three – the public relations course.

Party Animals

http://www.bbc.co.uk/drama/partyanimals/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_Animals_(TV_series)

The West Wing

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0200276/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_West_Wing

Spitting Image

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086807/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spitting_Image

Spinning Jenny – A new twist to PR film / TV with an interactive internet-based soap opera  set in Manchester’s Brazen PR and made by online entertainment service Manchester-live.tv

http://www.manchester-live.tv/spinningjenny.html

http://www.youtube.com/spinningjennytv

PoweR Girls

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PoweR_Girls

http://www.mtv.com/ontv/dyn/power_girls/series.jhtml

Sex and the City

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_and_the_City

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0159206/

Spin City

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin_City

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115369/

The Spin Crowd 

http://uk.eonline.com/on/shows/spin_crowd/index.html

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1684855/ 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spin_Crowd

PR (CBC, Canada)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0244356/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P.R._(TV_series)

Kell on Earth – Kelle Cutrone’s series about her fashion PR agency, people’s republic

http://www.bravotv.com/kell-on-earth

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kell_on_Earth

 

BOOKS:

Christoper Buckley (1994) Thank you for Smoking. Harper Perennial. ISBN 0679431748;

Paper back Random House ISBN 0812976525

Alistair Campbell (2007) The Blair Years. Random House. Paperback August 2008, ISBN 0099514753

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/system/topicRoot/Alastair_Campbell_diaries/ 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blair_Years

Eric Dezenhall (2004) Jackie Disaster: A Mystery. St Martin’s Press. ISBN 0312307713

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=hHAMHQAACAAJ&dq=Eric+Dezenhall&source=an&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=5&ct=result

Anonymous [Joe Klein] (1996) Primary Colors. Grand Central Publishing, ISBN 0446604275

Graham Lancaster (1997) Grave Song. Coronet. Paperback ISBN: 0340667117.

David Michie – Conflict of Interest, Pure Deception, Expiry Date

http://www.davidmichie.com/index.php

http://www.twbooks.co.uk/authors/davidmichie.html

Daniel Price (2004) Slick. Villard. ISBN 1400062349

J.B. Priestley. (1996 reprint). The Image Men. Mandarin ISBN 0749322969

Mimi Thebo (2002) The saint who loved me. Allison & Busby. ISBN: 0749005041

Sloan Wilson (1955; 2002 reprint) The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. Four Walls Eight Windows/ Capo Publishing. ISBN 1568582463

Charles Harrison (1948) Nobody’s Fool. Henry Holt. ASIN: B000I1UAO

Robert van Riper, (1958) A Really Sincere Guy. David McKay ASIN: B0007E5TB4

 

RADIO:

Absolute Power

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/comedy/absolute.shtml

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0386149/

 

ARTICLES:

Johnston, J. (2010) A history of Public Relations on screen: Cinema and television depictions since the 1930s. Proceedings of the First International History of Public Relations Conference, Bournemouth University, July 8-9, 2010. pp. 188-209. Available at: http://media.bournemouth.ac.uk/downloads/IHPRC-2010-Proceedings.pdf

Miller, K. (1999) Public Relations in Film and Fiction. Journal of Public Relations Research, Vol 11, No.1, pp. 3 – 28

Recently, the combined worthiness of AMEC, CIPR, PRSA and PRCA pronounced that Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs) are dead. First it came in the Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles finalised in July and then this jumble of acronyms met again in London in mid-November to reiterate their belief that AVEs must be replaced.

As readers of DummySpit and of Paul Noble’s and my book Evaluating Public Relations will know, I have criticised and opposed AVEs for a very long time. In summary, they tell us nothing and are based on a false calculation.

The Barcelona Declaration’s Principle 5 says “AVEs are Not the Value of Public Relations”. It goes on to say that AVEs “do not measure the value of public relations and do not inform future activity; they measure the cost of media space and are rejected as a concept to value public relations.”

This is the PR equivalent of the Christian baptismal promise to “reject Satan and all his works” and it was positive to see immediate statements from CIPR and PRCA supporting the move away from AVEs. The speakers at the London Measurement Conference are also well worth reviewing for their views.

What will happen now? AVEs continue to be very popular with 2009 research finding that they appear in over 40% of evaluations.

An immediate step would be to bar them as supportive evidence in industry award entries, thus denying their legitimacy. When industry leaders were asked directly to do this, there was some foot-shuffling but general assent that judging criteria should recognise more robust evaluation methods. That’s a good step forward. Already PRSA weights evaluation methods as 25% of the score in its Silver Anvil awards, with AVEs given little credit. Let’s hope other industry awards follow that lead and roll back decades of unprofessional practice.

ROI or Return on Investment is a much-used public relations term. Its beginnings are in financial management but it’s less well defined in PR practice.

I’m researching into practitioner use and understanding of ROI and will report on my findings to PR Moment’s ROI Conference in February and other conferences in the coming year. I’ve prepared a short survey which will take 10 minutes to complete. It will give data and insights on which further research in the UK and other countries will be based.

As ROI is often a judgement on communication effectiveness, I hope you will take part in this very relevant study. Comments and feedback are welcome, too.


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