In 2012 Annual Conference, 2012 Conference - Tuesday

Foundations for Good Measurement: Measuring the True Value of Public Relations
Patrick O’Donnell

By Lauren Antista

“If a program isn’t worth measuring, it’s not worth doing.” Dr. Jay Rayburn

A student of Dr. Rayburn’s and with a zeal for measurement, Patrick O’Donnell stressed that he wasn’t here to blow anyone’s mind, but that he was here to impart how critical it is to success in public relations (and to please the client) that efforts be measurable.

Patrick hoped that at the most basic level, FPRA attendees take home with them and implement the Barcelona Principles. The seven principles of public relations founded in Barcelona that help define successful public relations efforts are as follows:

1) It is important to set goals that are measurable.

The top four to focus on are: who, what, how much and when. 

2) Measuring outcomes is preferable to measuring outputs.

Outputs are at the contact/response level that focus on reach, whereas outcomes are on the perception/behavioral level and focus on knowledge, opinion and attitude (most often measured by surveys).

3) The effects of business results can and should be measured where possible. 

Outcomes, rather than outputs, impact business results and add value at the business level. 

4) Media measurement requires quantity and quality. 

5) AVEs are not the value of public relations. 

AVEs (Advertising Value Equivalencies) cannot capture the outcomes of PR, cannot measure the variety of messages, cannot measure the value of coverage and cannot measure social media forms. AVEs are the cost of advertising, not the value of earned media.

6) Social media can and should be measured.

There is no magic bullet or simple way. It is often monitoring versus measuring techniques. Monitoring implies examining what is said, putting your organization into the conversation, and identifying trends and topics. Meanwhile, measuring means quantifying reach, tone and recommendations. 

7) Transparency and replicability are paramount to sound measurement. 

Measuring efforts properly, Patrick emphasized, affords the opportunity to design better programs and enjoy further PR success.

Patrick O’Donnell is a Senior Project Manager with Ketchum Global Research & Analytics working in the Chicago office. He has been with Ketchum since 2006, where he started at the company headquarters in New York. O’Donnell has extensive experience in both primary and secondary research. He has specialized in survey writing, including corporate reputation measurement, campaign analysis and surveys for publicity. He has assisted clients and account teams with online and traditional media measurement, crisis monitoring, goal-setting and program measurement. He has strong interest in social media measurement. Specific project work ranges from helping Dow Chemical measure its reputation across the world among influencer groups to analyzing media coverage for Nokia that has been used to develop key messaging. Surveys O’Donnell has written and analyzed have helped clients such as ConAgra Foods, Walgreens and Adecco receive coverage in top-tier media outlets. He has recently assisted clients such as Wrigley and Cadence Health standardizing an approach to research and measurement.

Download the slides to his presentation here.

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