IABC Commons: media relations measurement continued

The IABC Commons has posted another in an on-going series on media relations measurement.   

Read the article and listen to the podcast here. 

I’ll add my $.02 (on media relations measurement only not relationships, sponsorships, reputation, trust, etc. All fodder with future blogtential)

Objectives: the good the bad and the buzzy.

The bad: generate publicity, buzz, hype and spin.  Four letter words to PR practitioners and a throw back to the press agentry (circus is coming to town) days of yore and yesteryear.

Better objective:

Increase awareness of (product, person, legislation, cause, issue, organization, whatever) by x% (based on a realistic view that that is actually achievable given measurement from campaigns and years past) among target audience of (influencers, prospects, educators, legislators, whatever) within a certain geographic area within a certain (realistic) timeframe.

THEN, layer a behaviour objective on top of / related to that and test for both.

All too often, objectives jump right past the reception > awareness > retention > understanding stage to behaviour and may demonstrate a correlation, but not necessarily causal proof.

That said, behavioural objectives are great provided they are realistic and measurable. But, let’s not loose site of the important in between.

The other thing that I think we, practitioners, clients, agencies, measurement types, need to continually take pause to note is:

1. where is our audience now, where do we want them to be, how realistic is it that we will move them (if at all) to where we want within the timeframe we had in mind or are under the gun to deliver within? Realistic?
2. that moving the audience from zero awareness and inactivity to some awareness and behavioural activity is a complex task as the stages that the audience moves through is, as decades of sociology, cultural studies, mass comm, psychology work tells us, just isn’t that simple and linear.

Finally, if we recognize, at least intuitively and anecdotally, that the media are (to varying degrees, depending…) both shapers and reflectors of public opinion, then we could also look at measuring the media as an influencer stakeholder (not strictly a channel). Without stealling anyone else’s thunder, I was privy to a fascinating presentation from Ted Graham, Hill & Knowlton’s global director of knowledge management, that applied social network analysis to mapping the relative influences of a variety of stakeholders including the media. I won’t do it justice, so I encourage readers to check out:

http://www2.hillandknowlton.com/commsmapping/

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