The Measurement Rules of Attraction

May 1, 2015


I have often wanted this column to go beyond PR measurement and move toward giving advice on a wider range of subjects.

After more than 40 monthly columns, how much can you write about measurement? So when Ann from Yale University wrote in, I thought I had found the change I was looking for:

Dear Doc Rock:
I work in a profession where women outnumber men. Most women I know believe that men judge their attractiveness according to the standards promoted in mass market publications, i.e., tall, long legs, thin, youthful, etc. Is this accurate? Being a man, can you shed some light on the metrics that men use when judging the attractiveness of women?

The esteemed editor of this publication suggested that I should carefully word my response to this question. I asked some of my colleagues who are also many of the top guys in measurement. Some responses weren’t helpful. However, my colleague Mark said: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Public relations, on the other hand, can be measured beautifully.”

Beauty and metrics

This brings us to the Barcelona Principles — we will be celebrating their five-year anniversary next month at the AMEC International Summit in Stockholm. Is it possible that you could apply them to Ann’s question and to Mark’s observation?

Principle No. 1 says to set goals and then measure against them. In other words, know where you are going and what constitutes success. Does this work here? Of course. Confidence and knowing where you are going, both as a person and in PR measurement, are attractive traits.

What about Principle No. 4, which says media measurement is about quantity and quality? Certainly getting the right message to the right people is the key to fulfilling this principle. So is silly conversation that is meaningless to the audience unattractive? Yes. Is the opposite true? Also, yes.

How about Principle No. 5, which states that AVEs — the practice of valuing public relations as the cost of advertising — are wrong? Isn’t it true that fakeness is unappealing in a person? Authenticity and real results are personally attractive, just as they are in PR metrics.

Finally, Principle No. 7 — transparency is important in PR metrics, just as it is with people — is critical. You should know how the numbers are being calculated.

So, Ann, do you want to know what beauty truly is? Come to Stockholm for the AMEC International Summit o Measurement on June 3-4. There, you will hear many smart, beautiful people address how to apply the Barcelona Principles.

Do you have measurement questions — or any other questions?  Write to:


Applying the Barcelona Principles

1. Remember the importance of goal setting and measurement.
2. Measuring the effect on outcomes is preferred to measuring outputs.
3. The effect on business results can and should be measured where possible.
4. Media measurement requires quantity and quality.
5. AVEs are not the value of public relations.
6. Social media can and should be measured.
7. Transparency and replicability are paramount to sound measurement.


University of Miami Ph.D. Student Wins Ketchum’s Don Bartholomew Research Award

I'm pleased to announce the following:

Zifei (Fay) Chen, a doctoral student at the University of Miami, has won the prestigious 2015 Ketchum Excellence in Public Relations Research Award, now known as the Don Bartholomew Award for Excellence in Public Relations Research.

Sponsored by the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) and Ketchum Global Research & Analytics, the program selects a qualified graduate student to intern at Ketchum’s New York City offices for a hands-on work experience.

You can read the full article here.

David B. Rockland, Ph.D.

David B. Rockland, Ph.D., retired as CEO of KGRA in 2017, but continues as part-time chairman. He and his wife, Sarah Dutton, who recently retired from CBS News, have also started their own research and consulting firm to work with Ketchum and other clients at


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