is ave really dead in pr measurement?

Measurement and evaluation. Fundamental to any effective piece of communications activity, project or campaign. Of course, there are lots of ways in which to do it these days. But should the much derided AVEs be consigned to the bin in the corner forever, or do they have a small part to play after all?

By Nicky Speed

Put your hand in the bucket those who know that the CIPR will disqualify you if you enter one of their awards and include ad value equivalency (AVE) as a measure of success? No, not something I was acutely aware of either - until I attended an event on managing major events and some of the key speakers used the dreaded AVE word!

Now I’m not saying for one minute that we hurtle back to the days when this was pretty much the only performance indicator we used for PR. But should we discount it completely when sometimes it’s the only language that some of our boards, trustees or stakeholders understand?

PR measurement has become a bone of contention in the communications sector. For many industries, services can be measured and return on investment can be easily quantified. This is not the case in our world and I know that many of us are struggling to get to grips with evaluating our work and showing our worth.

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#prstack: the power of community

Ding, ding. Round two. So here we go again. The second generation #PRstack hits the virtual (and actual) shelves of public relations land today.

by David Sawyer

Thirty PR practitioners writing case studies about how they use online tools to do their job better and faster.

I’ve read a few and can’t wait to pore over the rest.

If anything, the quality’s even higher.

Last time round it was a case of “Oooh, I’d not heard of that one. Let’s give it a go.”

In MKII it’s more “Oooh, I was au fait with x and y but never thought of using them together to do z.”

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'die! pr! die! die! die!'

The world is changing and PR with it. If you work in PR or communications there is a book and set of arguments you'll be hearing more of in the New Year. It cuts to the heart of what public relations is and does.

by Dan Slee

Fueled by a bottle of red wine a frustrated journalist and blogger wrote a bold post in 2006 called ‘Die! Press Release! Die! Die! Die!’ that took an axe to one of the standard tools in the PR toolbox.

Now taught in colleges the Tom Foremski post was a battle charge against the Linus blanket of the press release and its 400 words of journalese, approved quotes and notes to editors.

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trust me, pr is dead: welcome to the progressive corporate future

There is a lot of thinking right now about what the role of PR is in the future. In this guest post, one PR veteran explains why he has turned author to set out his ideas for the future as he re-thinks what the sector must look like. This may be uncomfortable reading for some.

by Robert Phillips 

My forthcoming book, “Trust Me, PR Is Dead” has attracted a lot of chatter in social media, since the first article appeared last summer. It charts the fall of Public Relations and the rise of Public Leadership: activist, co-produced, citizen-centric and society-first.

It calls for new measurement and accountability metrics, based on Public Value, which will be unique to every organisation that develops them.

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campaigns that made a difference, and one that should have

I was listening to Public Enemy’s ‘Harder than you think’ recently, and it took me straight back to the summer of 2012.

by Julie Waddicor

‘Harder than you think’ was the iconic song used by Channel 4 for its ‘Meet the Superhumans’ campaign for the Paralympics. Now, that was a truly outstanding bit of marketing. Yes, they had huge budgets and yes, they had blanket TV coverage, the like of which we in local government can only dream of. But fundamentally, some bright spark had the creative vision to identify the people taking part in the Paralympics as super-human, rather than defined by their disability, and to use a song with the line ‘Thank you for letting us be ourselves’.

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what would basil clarke the father of the british pr make of today's industry?

Public relations emerged in Britain in the first world war. But what would the pioneer of the field make of comms today?

by Richard Evans

The media landscape of today could hardly be more different to the one Basil Clarke faced when he became the UK’s first public relations officer in 1917.

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behind the scenes at macmillan comms

Everyone has seen MacMillan. They've got good branding. They do good things. They're effective and they make a difference. But what's the reality of working in their comms team?

by Katy Davies

Working in a small yet productive regional communications team at Macmillan Cancer Support really demands a broad scope of skills and expertise to cover the range of communications activities we undertake.

There’s five of us, each bringing something different to the table. International development, broadcast journalism, stakeholder management, agency and digital pretty much sums it up.

Together, we work across London, Anglia and the South East to deliver communications plans across fundraising, services and increasingly, local campaigning. We are part of the England External Affairs team and work with two other regional teams to manage our reputation and brand at local level.

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challenges in 2013 from a pr consultancy perspective

It's a tough time to be in public relations. The landscape which has changed forever is just as tricky for agencies. Here is what one senior figure has to say:

by Mark Whitehouse

Every PR agency will tell you they’re different.

We measure success for clients differently, boast a unique team of people, are the most creative, can implement a media campaign like no other, turn water into wine and back again.

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lessons from 'house of cards'

There's lessons on the re-make of the political thriller House of Cards. Not just that if you live tweet a row with your boss you'll become an online hero.

"Power is a lot like real estate. It's all about location, location, location. The closer you are to the source, the higher your property value." - Frank Underwood.


What's so different about Netflix's House of Cards?


After all, it has everything we'd come to expect from a hit US drama - high production values, a razor sharp script and a Hollywood actor (Kevin Spacey) in the lead role.


But this one is different and it has a relevance for the world many of us work and communicate in every day.


Difference one is how the show has reached our screens. House of Cards, a remake of the BBC original, is made and broadcast by Netflix, a subscription based video-on-demand website.


Netflix is the first content carrier that has gone from simply buying up and broadcasting other people's programmes, to making its own.

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channel shift: a future for public sector comms in 2013?

One of the challenges facing public sector comms is how to work out what you've done has been effective. Maybe, it's a case of using channel shift. Especially in the public sector which is changing almost by the day. 

by Dan Slee

It's always been tricky working out the impact of good communications.

Back in the day, you'd get a big ruler, a sheaf of cuttings and work out column inches.

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glass half-full comms

With cuts cutting deeper it's time to ask some deep questions of how to communicate them.

by Dan Slee

Are we better off saying the glass is half full? Or empty? Or pretending it's full?  

That was the iconoclastic view of London Fire Brigade's head of comms Richard Stokoe.

Back at the annual LGComms Academy earlier in the year he spoke eloquently about the challenges the public sector is facing and his take on what it should do.  We shouldn't pretend that things are fine when they're not, he says.  Neither should it try and bea cheerleader for business as usual because business as usual is over.

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collaborate to create stories, not announcements

Sometimes the heart sinks when you've got a press release to write. You know deep down it's got little chance of coverage. But here's an approach that could work.

by Eleanor Willock

I read this blog post by Charles Arthur, the technology editor at The Guardian. It really got me bought in. He’s got a unique style, and I really agree with the subject. Charles points out, for what I’m sure he hopes will be the last time to his PR audience - the difference between ‘news’ and ‘an announcement’.

I think a lot of us, sadly, know the difference, but are sometimes pushed to release the latter under the guise of the former. It’s one of the pitfalls of being in PR – sometimes, there’s no telling people, it’s just not news. Be honest - in your earlier career years, I won’t have been the only one who forwarded on a ‘get lost’ email response from a journalist (such as Charles) in response to my feeble pitch, to a client, in order to back up my quietly mumbled perspective that the press release won’t be well received, surely?

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can a freelance comms person save your life?

by Jayne Howarth

When the recession began to bite, many organisations started to do the same thing. Cut back on their PR and marketing budget and hoped the subsequent saving would see them through.

Of course, as anyone in marketing and PR would tell them – this is a bad idea. (Well, what else would they say?)

OK, so cuts may have to be made, but in the simplest terms maintaining the PR budget gives a company or organisation a competitive edge in bad times and allows it to preserve its image and safeguard its reputation.

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in defence of communication ethics

by Sarah Williams

In a report in PR Week this week, Lord Bell, chairman of Chime Communications, the group that owns Bell Pottinger, claimed that questions about the conduct of the company’s PR division have had no effect on trading.

Bell Pottinger were last year subject to a sting operation, carried out by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and published by the Independent, in which senior members of the firm were alleged to have boasted about their influence in Westminster.
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