PR industry big wigs agree that black is black

Some people wearing big wigs, intedned as a comic reference to my headline. Not implying that the technical PR, or even regular PR, people at the conference were actually wearing big wigs or corss dressing of course.Last week a group of PR agency leaders met in Barcelona to discuss the question of measurement and to further drone on about the efficacy of AVE (Advertising Value Equivalent). Sadly the results of this meeting have been really very pedestrian.

Their objective was to establish a framework for measurement not based on the AVE metric. For those of you who don’t already know, ‘AVE’ means measuring the efficacy of PR in terms of how much it would have cost to buy the editorial space achieved if it were advertising.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a huge fan of AVE either, but at least it allows you to measure using a reasonably consistent gauge. Sadly, the ‘seven principles’ developed at the meeting in Barcelona don’t appear to me to take the argument forward one jot. Instead, they simply reiterate the points that most PR people picked up as junior account executives during their first training session on measurement. The seven principles are:

1. Measurement and goal setting are fundamental for any PR programmes
2. Media measurement requires quantity and quality - clip cuts are generally meaningless
3. AVEs do not measure the value of PR and do not inform future activity; they measure the cost of media space
4. Social media can and should be measured
5. Measuring outcomes is preferred to measuring media results
6. Business results can and should be measured where possible
7. Transparency and replicability are paramount to sound measurement

Believe it or not, this took 200 people, representing 33 nationalities and five global trade bodies people to agree. An example of how crowdsourcing an answer can sometimes produce the lowest common denominator, instead of the sum of the group’s wisdom, if ever I saw one.

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Richard Stone

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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