Data driven: finding a solution to moving metrics on

Data driven: finding a solution to moving metrics on

Although interpretations of what constitutes the role of PR differ, one thing is clear: if we as an industry can’t demonstrate our value and our return on investment to the business, we risk being sidelined as a business function.

At last week’s Mumbrella’s CommsCon conference, Herd MSL CEO Vanessa Liell spoke on Thursday’s Moving Metrics On panel with David Breen, Head of Corporate Affairs for ING; Amanda Behre, Head of Marketing for Gumtree Australia; and Amy Wagner, Senior Communications Manager Brands, Campbell Arnotts.

Moderated by James Greet, co-founder of CleanThinking, the panel discussed the challenges of balancing tangible results with demonstrating the broader value of what we do.

There is a proliferation of data in every aspect of our lives. The challenge for PR teams is to identify the right data, collect it and produce meaningful insights from it.

There is a tendency to measure what works: as humans we are addicted to success, whereas it’s much more useful to track what hasn’t worked. Seeing where a campaign didn’t achieve its outcomes can shape a strategy going forward.

All panellists agreed that starting small and experimenting with metrics was crucial: PR teams should identify what matters to them, and build over time. Involving internal stakeholders is key to understanding what matters to the executive or the board and what they really want to track.

In response to the challenge of effectively tracking the impact of PR, Herd MSL developed ROAR (Results, Outcomes, Actions and Recommendations), a platform used to track what is important to brands and to inform future decisions. This has been beneficial to help clients track brand sentiment and affinity.

Once you see positive results or impact, PR teams can stitch these stories together to form a narrative of success and demonstrate the value of PR to the business. Wagner from Campbell Arnott’s says that most PR people are excellent at their jobs externally but need to apply that mentality to their own organisation and demonstrate the benefits to their businesses. An example of this was the launch of Arnott’s cake range. Without any marketing budget, a PR-led campaign involving an event with influencers led to 50% of target year one sales in the first two weeks, plus a flow on effect of increased sales for the whole range.

PR doesn’t need metrics for metrics sake, but in order to confirm the impact it has and to help clients make better decisions, it’s crucial that PR teams identify and secure resources that demonstrate impact.

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