You Ask, I Answer: How To Measure Traditional PR

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You Ask, I Answer_ How To Measure Traditional PR

Emily asks, “I work in traditional PR at a multinational cosmetics company. How do I quantify my team’s performance so the CEO knows the value of our work?”

Effective public relations has two primary outcomes: awareness and trust. We measure awareness in a variety of different ways:

  • The gold standard is properly done, continuous market research and surveying, such as unaided brand recall, purchase intent, and recommendation intent
  • Digital metrics include branded organic search and new user traffic but these are secondary because they don’t help explain the impact of PR as well
  • Open-ended awareness questions on intake forms (digital and traditional)
  • Trust is measured through market research and measurement systems like Net Promoter Scores

The reason most PR isn’t measured or quantified well is that companies skimp on paying for measurement. If you’re not going to pay to properly measure, don’t bother paying for PR.

You Ask, I Answer: How To Measure Traditional PR

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Emily asks, and today’s you ask, I answer, I work in a traditional PR firm at a multinational cosmetics company, how do I quantify my team’s performance? So, the CEO knows the value of our work? Great question. Interesting and complicated question. Because there’s a whole lot of stuff that’s wrong in PR measurement. So let’s dig into this effective public relations has two primary outcomes, right? PR does two things, fundamentally helps build awareness of the brand.

And it helps build trust in the brand.

And so when you’re doing PR, well, you’re creating awareness, you know, this company has a product or service and the world needs to know about it. And that’s, that’s one of the functions is to help you become aware that this, this company even exists, and that they have a product or service or solution that will help solve a specific problem. The second function is all about trust

it PR doesn’t create trust, per se, but it amplifies trust. So if a company is a trustworthy company, and Has something happened, that’s bad, you know, a data breach or something like that public relations can help leverage the relationships that the company has built to,

to repair

the damage from that Richard to rally advocates on behalf of the company to to come to its defense and things. Now, if a company is not trustworthy,


not much PR can do, right? That kind of spin stuff a little bit. But

in the end of the day, everybody can tell that company’s not a particularly trustworthy company,

look at what’s happening right now with some of the different technology companies in Silicon Valley and their reputations if they don’t behave in a trustworthy way. And some of them do not, then there’s only so much PR can do to try and remediate the process when fundamentally, the company’s trustworthiness is very, very low. So that’s the two things that PR does, how do we measure them, the gold standard for measuring awareness is properly done, continuous market research and serving this is serving of your target audiences. And if you’re a multinational company, you’ve got to do this in a regional wise, localized way.

The three kinds of serving, you’re probably going to want to do, I’ll be unaided brand recall, serving such as asking people, you know, name five brands of lipstick, name three fast food restaurants name for coffee restaurants, and people will go Starbucks dunkin donuts.

And then obviously, if you work at Peet’s coffee, or you work at Seattle’s best coffee or you work at Walla, and you’re not on the list, then you know you’re probably relations isn’t having this big of an impact as you would like. The second sort form serving to ask people is purchase intent.

What is your intent to purchase a box of french fries from McDonald’s in the next or days, you know, very likely to not likely at all

and measuring that and the third is recommendation intent. What is your intent to recommend or how likely are you to recommend Estee Lauder lipstick to? I don’t even know if so, a lot of makes lipstick? Not clearly I don’t do a lot of cosmetics.


what is your intent to recommend Estee Lauder lipstick to a friend or family member in the next is days. And these three things combined with the qualitative answers people give in surveying will help you judge the impact of awareness and trust.

You also want to ask as part of that, how did you hear if somebody says in in unaided brand recall, for example, you name asked for coffee companies? If Starbucks is your is the client or the company, say, how did you hear about us? And if somebody says, All I read about you in in the New York Times, cool, then you have definitive from the audience’s mouth answers about the effectiveness of your PR. The second way to measure PR, which is not as good as as properly done market research is with digital metrics. So there are things like branded organic search, which is number people searching for your company, your products and services by by brand name. So Starbucks latte would be a branded search, whereas vanilla latte would not be new user traffic. net new use of traffic, particularly from unpaid sources is another way to measure that a third one that people really hose and they just completely mess up is open ended questions on digital collections. So for example, if you someone is on your website and fill out a form and you ask, how did you hear about us, that’s an that’s an open ended as long as it’s a text box, or someone can type something in as opposed to like a drop down. If

you have that box there and there’s third, you get people responses and not a single one mentions any kind of publication or new source of things, then, you know, up I was not having that great of an effect. Now,

that’s not the only way to measure that. But it is a at least getting input from people like hey, if no one ever says I heard about you from Facebook, you know that your Facebook marketing strategy, your Facebook audience strategy is not probably

working as well as you want it to

the when it comes to measuring trust, again, we have the gold standard is properly conducted market research and measurement systems like Net Promoter scores

and surfing, you know, asking us, you know, how trustworthy. Do you feel this brand is or how ethical Do you believe this brand is, and so on. That’s so forth. And that informs

your public relations efforts. Now, a bit of a rant here and I can do this now because I don’t work in the industry anymore. The reason why public relations is not measured a quantified well is that companies skimp on paying for measurement companies short change measurement all the time by significant amounts. The, the, the gold standard for measurement

is it for every dollar you spend on something know cents on the dollar should be going to measure it doesn’t matter what it is, manufacturing, marketing, analytics, advertising, public relations,

if you’re going to do something, you need to know whether doing something is working or not, in an awful lot of cases, companies spend on something, but don’t want to spend on the measurement of it. And as a result, they have no idea whether it’s working or not. And then public relations professionals in house or agencies are script to scramble to assemble these different

baskets of metrics. And it’s the best you can do. But it’s not great,

right? It’s not a good system of measurement. Because you’re trying to piece together a story with the analytics, you have that may not tell the whole story or may tell a very diluted story. For example, branded organic search can be driven by a lot of things. You can drive branded organic search

with just as much with things like advertising as you can PR. So how do you tell the difference

when as opposed to market research? When you ask people,

hey, how did you hear about this company?

And they say, Oh, I read it about it. And in a magazine,

why read about it on on my favorite influencer, that gives you much more information about the specifics of your public relations as opposed to a marketing metric, which is just a number.

And so a lot of companies have sort of

hodgepodge and duct tape and chewing gum, you know, their, their metrics to try and create a PR metrics strategy. But really, it’s got to be done the market research. If you want clear answers, and my feeling now is, again, no longer working in the PR industry or working at a PR firm. If you’re not going to pay to measure something, don’t bother doing it right. If you’re not going to pay to measure your public relations efforts. Don’t bother paying for PR, just go run a bunch of ads or something. But

if you want. If you care about the outcomes of PR, if you care about having a positive perception and having market awareness paid properly, to measure or pay the so cents on the dollar to measure it. Well, so that you understand this is what the impact of what we’re doing is that way, you never have to question, you know, am I, what am I paying for? favorite question to ask agencies? What am I paying for? Well, if you didn’t pay to measure them, nobody knows. Right? So pay to measure for PR. So, great question. Emily. complicated question. There’s a lot to unpack but if you pay measure and you pay that measure at an appropriate level, you will be able to quantify your team performs so that the CEO and everybody knows the value of your public relations. Thanks for asking. As always, please subscribe to the newsletter and the YouTube channel and I’ll talk to you soon. Take care.

If you want help with your company’s data and analytics. Visit Trust Insights calm today and let us know how we can help you.

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