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Walmart’s David Tovar on Metrics That Matter

May 16, 2014

David Tovar, VP of Corporate Comms, Walmart
David Tovar, VP of Corporate Comms, Walmart

“Today’s measurement is tomorrow’s strategy,” said David Tovar, vice president of corporate communications for Walmart, during this morning’s keynote at the PRSA and PRIME Research Strategic Corporate Communications and Research Conference in New York.

Tovar presented some noteworthy statistics about the company at the outset: Walmart yields half a trillion dollars in revenue each year and accounts for 10 percent of U.S. retail spending. Also, 75 percent of the store management team started as hourly workers.

As the world’s largest company, Walmart is now developing and implementing a measurement program to drive smarter PR campaigns for better results. “Our purpose is improving reputation, increasing trust and driving sales,” he said of the company. “We don’t have a problem making news, we have a problem making the right news.”

Tovar stressed the importance of impressions and focusing on the customer. He said that Walmart conducts public opinion research polling every day (of core shoppers, occasional shoppers and opinion leaders) on reputation and corporate citizenship, as both are important to the company.

“Measurement is a data-driven approach,” he said. Turn insights into actions through development, execution, monitoring, analysis and reporting.

Responding to a reputation issue means that you need a multi-channel approach with paid, owned and earned media, he said. “It’s OK if it doesn’t work if you learn from it.”
Tovar said that leveraging communications executives is key to building and strengthening a company’s reputation. Focus on the metrics that matter and show how public relations helps the business, not just on the ones that are easy to count.

“Your gut isn’t good enough anymore,” Tovar said. “Our industry is part art and part science, but we need the data to back it up.” — Amy Jacques


Mark Weiner says:

Dave Tovar -- one of PR's wisest men -- demonstrated how every organization can begin its measurement journey simply and evolve to deliver keen insights and yield strategic guidance for managing reputation through research.

May 19, 2014

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