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(Note – you can listen to this post here)

I know you gotta measure stuff in business. That includes PR.

We really suck at it though. We have no agreed upon standards, battle over crap like AVE’s, measure weird stuff that has little to do with actual business goals and have trouble really showing that A causes B (I am a trained social scientist so this last bit gets my goat pretty darn bad).

All that aside – and THAT is a bunch – there is another problem:

Our internal and external clients have screwed up ideas of what success is and how it should be measured.

My bet is that you still produce clip books that are judged by some idiot taking out a ruler and measuring the volume’s thickness. No? Then perhaps some genius assesses how much noise said tome of coverage makes when it is dropped on the table. If you’re so evolved that these ancient rites are behind you, I’d wager that you at least get asked to produce clip books semi-regularly.

Maybe your internal and external clients judge you based on where a story appears; I am not talking about the outlet but the physical position. Some clients don’t think page A10 or appearing as the fifth story on the newscast  is where they should ever be.

“Only being out front is good enough,” they say.

This behaviour is analogous to a man saying he’ll only date women who look like Jennifer Lopez. Dare to dream big, but please realize that in life not every best case scenario unfolds.

Sometimes internal or external clients only care about whether THEY get on TV, in print etc. This creates problems when you are dealing with multiple stakeholders whose presence in the media might actually do more for the client’s business goals.

I know, WE the PR people are supposed to EDUCATE our internal and external clients on the REAL measures of our labour. That, though, is not easy or quick. It’s especially difficult when we ourselves don’t even agree on what the standards are.

What do you think?

Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • Krista says:

    I am loving the audio renditions of your posts– are you secretly considering a career in broadcast?

    While I don’t work with clients anymore, I remember the constant challenge of setting benchmarks that would eventually measure our “success.” A lot of it went back to your point of educating our clients on what was realistic and reasonable, but that often was never easy. And sometimes, my team was guilty as well of creating unrealistic or unmeasurable goals! This issue may never be easy so long as people’s perceptions of success differ, but the least PR folks can do is attempt to set some standards and stick to them.

  • Thanks for the kind words K. Glad you like the audio. It is fun for me.

    As always, I appreciate the insightful comment.

  • I LOVE the audio! Were you an actor too? You have great inflexion, Jackson.

    And yes – you said everything that needs to be said. Preaching to the choir here. I wonder if we’ll ever agree on decent standards of measurement. We’ll probably all go to our graves still screaming about it!

    And thank you very much for the link love. 🙂

  • Another vote here for the fun audio version.

    I also love the “date women who look like Jennifer Lopez” analogy. So true.

    Preaching to the choir, indeed.

  • Hey Shonali,

    I never acted. I love the spoken word though, and have recently rediscovered a love of the audio-only medium due to my new iPad (of all things)!

    Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by 🙂

  • Thanks Jen! Very kind. Re the audio, it is something I saw Ike Piggot do awhile back over at his blog, Occam’s Razor so thought I’d give it a go here.

  • I think your’e dead-on. The problem is that no one asks “So What” often enough. As in, “Success is a front page in the NY Times” — So What? “Everyone sees our message” So What? “We got 1000 followers” So what? Clients and their agencies need to understand how they are expected to impact the business.

  • The post is the real problem with PR management.In business stuff.we find the term Pr management.My bet is that you still produce clip books that are judged by some idiot taking out a ruler and measuring the volume’s thickness.

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