How Measurement is Changing Communications: Sarah Campbell, MEPRA Board


Have you ever heard of the Barcelona Principles? If yes, could you name all seven of them? A recent survey by Gorkana Group shared at the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) Annual Conference showed that less than 50% of the 587 communications practitioners surveyed knew about the principles…

… of the global measurement experts and ambassadors present at the conference even less of them dared to publically recite the 7 aloud, so for all of us a short reminder.

Barcelona Principles or Seven Principles of PR Measurement

1. 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. Social Media Can and Should be Measured

6. AVEs are not the Value of Public Relations

7. Transparency and Replicability are Paramount to Sound Measurement

For many of us measurement = media clippings.  For some we have applied sentiment analysis of our coverage.  For the most highly skilled we are using traditional and social media as a listening device, gathering insights about our target audience and engaging with them in meaningful conversation.  The question is how we move from speaking, as up to 95% of us admit to doing, to truly engaging in a two-way conversation with our stakeholders, whether they are employees, customers, shareholders or media.

I’d like to ask you to reflect on the engagement that you have with your client or C-Suite stakeholder on your communications results.  In your meeting are you discussing the outcomes of your communications efforts, i.e. more engaged employees, brand preference improvement, lead generation?  Or simply outputs, like reach and volume? Do your stakeholders recognize the value that communications is generating for the company? To promote, protect and build your brand and reputation? And maybe more importantly do you understand the central role that you as a communications leader play?

One of the major traps communications professionals have is we don’t spend enough time evaluating and communicating our successes. When asked what is holding us back from measuring over 60% of those surveyed by Gorkana cite lack of resources, time and cost. Imagine though if putting measurement in place to could save you time, money and deliver better results?  Reason enough to put the resources aside right?

Each will take their own approach to solving the problem but I’d encourage you to take the task collectively with your agency partners, your media measurement agency, and any internal stakeholders – gather as much reliable data as you can and figure out how to put it to work for your organization. A robust measurement system takes into consideration all of the data streams available to you, including social media engagement, website visits, consumer support engagements, paid media, media relations. A great cheat sheet to refer to in your exercise is here

Taking a smart approach to measurement will not only give you all the evidence you need to secure your communications budget for future quarters, it will help you do a better job at targeting your message to the most influential audience, ensuring outcomes not only output.   Of the converted client-side practitioners was Eileen Sheil, Executive Director, Corporate Communications, Cleveland Clinic who said “measurement has completely changed how we do our communications.”  I feel the same way.

One of the speakers also noted the future of PR and communications is bright.  I fully believe this and believe that taking a holistic approach to measurement will bring your practice to the next level.  Look out for more news from MEPRA and AMEC as we support the growth of this capability in our industry.  If you want to get started on the learning journey of measurement I encourage you to read

Let us know what you think about it? Let’s make 2015 the year of measurement in the Middle East!!

About the author:

Sarah Campbell is Head of Brand, Communications and Digital at Philips Middle East & Turkey where she heads a multi-disciplinary B2C, B2B and B2G marketing communications team. She has over 12 years of experience both on the agency side and in-house at Philips where she has been for 10 years building and promoting the brand’s reputation in both Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

Sarah is passionate about raising the professionalism of the communications practice in the Middle East and ensuring organizational leaders understand how brand and reputation drive overall business value. She brings this focus to her role as co-chair of the Standards and Governance Committee.