Setting Measurable Objectives: Key to Proving PR Value

As you’ve probably heard, this week is PR measurement week, part of AMEC Measurement Month.

TIP: If you’re interested but not sure you’ll be able to attend one of the live webinars this week, go ahead and register—you’ll receive an on-demand playback link afterwards!

The AMEC North America chapter kicked-off Measurement Week 2016 Monday morning with a Twitter chat. The chat was followed by an afternoon webinar on setting measurable objectives, led by Mark Weiner, CEO PRIME Research North America, moderated by AMEC North America’s Co-Chair and BurrellesLuce’s CMO, Johna Burke. In this post, I’ll be recapping that webinar.

The most common PR challenge is proving the value of our work. This is often difficult because value is so subjective and individual—varying from one organization and/or person to another.   Weiner suggests the key to success is setting proper objectives and then meeting (or beating) them.

Just what is a “proper” objective? A proper objective should be three things:

  • Meaningful – must be tied back to the organization’s goals (e.g. increasing business performance such as sales or stock price, optimizing labor by attracting and retaining top talent, avoiding loss by averting a crisis or potential reputation disaster, etc.)
  • Reasonable – openly-negotiated, aggregate opinions of top executives and discuss what is really reasonable, then get confirmation and approval to proceed
  • Quantifiable – must answer what, who, how much (by what amount should the metric change) and when (not open-ended)

Let’s focus on the quantifiable objective-setting process. In my experience, this is the step that stumps many of us.  Weiner suggests you take these steps:

  • Review past performance by looking at past objectives and the results, compare to competitors, and determine what would be a realistic increase.
  • Document the public relations objectives in writing (being sure to answer the who, what, when and how much questions).
  • Share the objectives with the executives with whom you originally spoke and with anyone who may be involved in resource allocations, negotiate final details and get authorization to proceed with the plan (as well as publishing the final plan with key executives).

The webinar wrapped-up with an objective-setting checklist (mainly covered in the previous two paragraphs) and examples of what are not proper objectives.  The examples included actions or activities (such as “create press release”, “plan special event”), and goals or aspirations (such as “get more media placements”, “improve brand reputation”. These may move you toward achieving your objective, but are not objectives in and of themselves.

In his final remarks, Weiner cautioned, “Objectives are not fate, we have to work hard to set and meet objectives. They provide direction, help departments prioritize, focuses energy and helps management align with public relations. Objectives must be specific, measurable and unambiguous.”

I want to thank Mark for all this great information and guidance, and invite you to add your own thoughts here in the comments section.

Continue to check back for more posts recapping many of this week’s PR measurement activities!

*This post by Tressa Robbins originally appeared on September 22, 2016, on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog at http://www.burrellesluce.com/freshideas/2016/09/setting-measurable-objectives-key-to-proving-pr-value/ and is cross-posted here with permission. 

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