Public Relations Tactics

Report from Madrid: Progress in unlocking the business potential of PR

July 1, 2013

In just a few years, the AMEC European Measurement Summit has grown from a small event in Berlin to a major forum for discussing communications evaluation, measurement, research and analytics.

In June, more than 200 measurement professionals from 35 countries met in Madrid for the 5th European Summit on Measurement.

“AMEC has truly come of age,” said William M. Murray, CAE, PRSA’s president and COO and a Summit speaker. “The 2013 Measurement Summit was a showcase for the resources and tools that are now available to practitioners to demonstrate the business impact of their work.”

Here are a few highlights from Madrid:

Moving from principles to action

In his keynote address, Rob Flaherty, my CEO at Ketchum, called for a move from principles to action. He referred to the Barcelona Principles as having set the foundation for measurement of our profession, but said we now need specific standards to put these principles into operation.

He asked that we all adopt the standards coming from the Coalition for Public Relations Research Standards. The Institute for Public Relations created the coalition in 2011 to develop measurement standards for the profession. Partnering organizations include AMEC, PRSA, the Council of PR Firms and the Global Alliance for PR and Communication Management. The group’s ultimate goal is to create a framework that we can apply across all PR activities.

GE, GM, Philips, Southwest Airlines, Nissan, McDonald’s and Cleveland Clinic are among those already onboard with the Coalition’s guidelines. While not all the standards are complete, the agreement is to use the finished work to guide how we approach measurement in our profession.

As Flaherty said, now is the time for PR agencies of all sizes to reach a consensus with measurement standards.

Introducing an educational endeavor

We heard about plans to develop a new Global Education Programme at the European Summit. The Program, in which PRSA is a key partner, has two primary objectives:

  • Making sure that PR pros understand how measurement enables communications to drive business performance
  • Ensuring that measurement and PR pros know how to communicate results and approaches in a manner that the business community understands  

 Watch for more details of the Global Education Program in this column soon.  Two parts are already in place, including:

Broadening the role of analytics and a cry for simplicity

The Summit theme took a practical “how to” approach to show the important role of analytics in providing key intelligence insights to senior company management, especially during an economic downturn.  Speakers provided a variety of case studies.

Recognizing the need for better measurement of communications for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), attendees proposed that a new component of AMEC specifically focus on the challenges that they face. The proposal began with an idea from attendees at the Summit from UNICEF, CARE International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Marguerite Marston, commercial public relations manager, IKEA U.S., discussed the organization’s measurement journey and the need for simplicity. Her speech focused on how measurement needs to be simple and efficient to be relevant to her company.

To drive her point home, she showed a piece of IKEA furniture compared to a complex measurement dashboard; the effect and point could not have been clearer.

Have measurement questions? Email Doc Rock.


David B. Rockland, Ph.D.

David B. Rockland, Ph.D., is the new-retired partner/CEO and managing director for the research and change communications businesses at Ketchum. He has held leadership positions in corporate communications and research throughout his career, with extensive global experience in both areas.


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