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Fiction: PR can’t be measured – Take 2

This is the next entry in our “Best of” series, in which we venture deep into the vault to replay blog opinion and insight that has withstood the test of time. Today’s post hails from February 2008. We welcome your feedback.

By Francis Moran

About a month ago, as part of my continuing series of Francis’s favourite fictions, I tackled the too-widely held myth that public relations can’t be measured. I described how, at inmedia, we establish a critical path, or set of outputs, for every project and ongoing program that allows our clients to certify that we’re exerting the amount of effort we said we would. This, I said, was a good starting point for program measurement, but a woefully inadequate one.

I went on to describe what we call outcomes, a set of clear and unambiguous objectives we set that tell our clients what they should expect by way of actual coverage by our target media and analysts, with more granular objectives established for specific program elements such as news releases, product launches, contributed articles, speaking programs, trade show support and so on. Applying such an approach turns the whole PR value proposition on its ear; instead of a cost centre that should be managed down to its minimum, a client can now view the PR function as an investment centre, and can answer the question, “Are these results, or outcomes, a sufficient return on the investment my PR agency or department is asking me to make?”

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