Sunday, October 17, 2010

Creating Measurable PR Objectives

If a PR program is designed to “generate buzz,” how would they know if it was successful?

Objectives, by definition, must be more clearly defined than that. By developing objectives early, you’ve given yourself a way to measure your success, and you set expectations for your client or employer.

I attended a session today at the PRSA International Conference entitled, “Setting Quantifiable Objectives – The Key to Proving PR Value and Building the Business Case for PR,” presented by Mark Weiner, CEO of PRIME Research North America.

He explained that PR objectives should be “meaningful, reasonable and quantifiable.”

He suggests conducting an “executive audit,” with questions like: “What is management trying to achieve and what will help or hinder our success?” and “What barriers have hindered our meeting objectives in the past?” (Details are in his book, Unleashing the Power of PR: A Contrarian's Guide to Marketing and Communication.)

Three areas to cluster objectives are: outputs (e.g., total mentions, reach, media mix), outcomes (i.e., awareness, comprehension, attitudes, behavior), and business results (e.g., market share, employee retention).

I really liked his summary points:
  • “Objectives are not fate; they are direction.
  • “Objectives are not commands; they are commitments.
  • “Objectives do not determine the future; they are means to mobilize the resources and energies of the business for the making of the future.”

As the Q&A portion of the session was coming to a close, one participant commented that this session alone, made her trip and registration worth it, which was followed with applause.

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