Photo credit: AMEC

Maverick’s commitment to taking measurement seriously in our communications planning involved sending Partner Ong Hock Chuan and Director Monitoring & Analytics Felicia Nugroho to the AMEC Summit in Barcelona from June 12 – 14. Here are their take away from the summit.

It is certainly not business as usual for media monitoring services.

More print publications are closing down by the day, readers have switched to either reading the news online, on digital platforms or relying on links shared on their chat applications such as WhatsApp.

Social media has also disrupted the conventional means with which brands communicate with their audiences. The word ‘advertisement’ now seems outdated. What we have now is ‘content’ which can be distributed via ‘paid’, ‘earned’ or ‘owned’. As if this is not enough, any of these contents can be easily ‘shared’ across channels. These four types of content are so established now that they even have an acronym, PESO. The big question now is how do we measure the result of communications across Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned?

At Maverick, we’ve recognized and moved in tandem with this shift as we believe that unless communications efforts can be measured, they will remain fuzzy and not be taken seriously by corporations and brands. On the other hand, if they can be measured then you can link them to outcomes and impact on a business, lifting the game to a strategic instead of an implementation level.

The best place to learn about state-of-the-art communication measurement, we learned after extensive research, is at AMEC (International Association for Measurement and Evaluation for Communications). Established in 2009, AMEC is committed to provide education in measurement, share the industry’s best practices and strengthen its international network through their annual summits.

I was fortunate to be sent there by Maverick to attend AMEC’s recent summit in Barcelona on 13-14 June 2018 accompanied by Maverick partner Ong Hock Chuan.

I arrived at the summit excited, full of anticipation and laden with many questions: What’s the measurement standard? Is there one? What’s the update on AVEs (Advertising Value Equivalents)? Is anyone still using AVE in the rest of the world (in Indonesia, many companies still do)? How to measure communication effectiveness and success now that all content is within the PESO framework?

Photo credit:AMEC

The Summit was opened by the AMEC CEO Barry Leggetter, followed by a series of presentations from big names in the industry. There were 300 participants from communications consultancies, media monitoring and analysis agencies, technology companies, as well as corporations, and not-for-profit organizations from around the world. Unfortunately, however, Southeast Asia looked unrepresented. A Malaysian from Siemens in Malaysia and us were the only participants from Southeast Asia.

It was a very well organized summit with 15 presentations lined up on the first day and 12 workshops run on the second day. All sessions were run back-to-back and promptly timed.

The speakers came from diverse backgrounds and disciplines with each sharing their case study on measurement. The highlights were case studies presented by Alex Aiken (Executive Director of Communications of UK Government), Dr Jennifer Bruce (Global Leader of Communications Measurement for Adobe), Paloma Escudero (Global Director of Communications for UNICEF), Carmen Romero (Deputy Assistant Secretary General for NATO), Chiara Latella (Global Brand PR Manager for Campari Group).

Here are some of the key learnings from the presentations:

1. What is the status on AVE?

The industry has progressed significantly since the Barcelona Principles were declared in 2010, stating that AVEs were not the right measurement for PR. AVEs (or its variant Equivalent Advertising Value or its derivative PR Value) has never been a correct measurement and it is never will be for a multitude of reasons (see reasons here). As a result of the Barcelona Principles and the continuing work of AMEC members the number of companies using AVEs worldwide has dropped from 80% in 2010 to 16%* in 2018, according to a survey of AMEC’s international members). All the case studies presented demonstrated how communications would be measured without AVEs.

2. How should one measure communications then?

It all starts with defining your business objectives, and the communications objectives to support them. Communications objectives go beyond just counting numbers or outputs (such as the number of press clippings), but also focus on outtakes (a response or reaction toward the communication activities) and outcomes (shift in behavior or perception of the targeted audience). These are what needs to be measured if the data is to help the company and PR consultancy plan more effective communication plans in the future.

3. How to take PESO into account in a measurement?

Learning from the case studies, integration is inevitable. Sooner or later, we need to overcome the silos and integrate. We can no longer measure separately between marketing and PR functions. If a piece of earned content is generated and being shared to the extent that it becomes viral and influences people to make a purchase, whose effort is it? Integrated measurement is the way forward in this digital age.

4. What is the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in all this?

AI exists and it will stay. Most of the consultancies and agencies in the measurement business, however, are still cautiously watching the development. When it comes to listening, most of them still rely on humans with supporting systems to automate some of the processes.

There is much more that was learned at the summit, too much to share in one posting so we will share the knowledge we gained in a series of posts and workshops in the future.

The big takeout from the AMEC Summit, however, is that the results of PR do not need to be fuzzy and intangible. They can be quantified and measured, across conventional media and social media platforms not just in terms of outputs but also in terms of outtakes and outputs. From there it is a short step to linking the efforts to the impact on the business. When PR can do this, it will start to sit on the planning table alongside the CEOs and brand directors. The good news is that the frameworks and the tools are already there, all it takes is the courage to break from outmoded conventions.

Written by Felicia Nugroho, Director, Monitoring & Analytics Maverick Indonesia 

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