Measurement: The Reality Check of a PR Campaign

Is there a Loch Ness monster? Or Has anybody seen the Big Foot? Or are the aliens living among us? These are some of those typical questions with no absolute answers.

Till a few years ago, the question on PR effectiveness or its ability to deliver ROO and/or ROI was also a question with no definite answer

Traditionally, the success of a PR initiatives has been measured using the Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) parameter. In this method, the coverage is measured in column Centimeters (CCM) and then multiplied by the advertising rate of the publication in which it has appeared.

Unfortunately, the effectiveness of AVE continues to be a subject of debate even today. The reason is that AVE does not measure the impact of the PR campaign on the target audience. It is simply a monetized version of the space occupied in the media. More importantly, AVE does not allow the campaign manager to cull out insights and takeaways or even course-correct during and post the campaign.

After a long wait, however, the year 2010 brought us a welcome change when global public relations agencies met in Barcelona to design a measurement framework that will help them accurately to assess the impact of their PR campaigns. It is this very initiative that gave the global Brand Communication practitioners a discipline known as the Barcelona Principles.

Recently, the Barcelona Principles 3.0 was launched (

The seven principles of the Barcelona 3.0 are as follows:

  • Setting goals is an absolute prerequisite to communications planning, measurement, and evaluation.
  • Measurement and evaluation should identify outputs, outcomes, and potential impact.
  • Outcomes and impact should be identified for stakeholders, society, and the organization.
  • Communication measurement and evaluation should include both qualitative and quantitative analysis.
  • AVEs are not the value of communication.
  • Holistic communication measurement and evaluation includes all relevant online and offline channels
  • Communication measurement and evaluation are rooted in integrity and transparency to drive learning and insights.

You will notice that The Barcelona Principles does not believe and therefore endorse the AVE approach. It has proposed a much more holistic and scientific framework to better capture the response to a PR campaign. Not just that, course correction is much easier with Barcelona Principles.

The Barcelona Principles have brought about a sea change in the way communication campaigns are measured. It demanded a dynamic measuring system that provided impact assessment on a real-time basis and the inclusion of the booming social media within the spectrum.

The traditional AVE method has been unable to do justice to the overall effectiveness of a PR communication campaign.

The media tracking and analysis agencies across the markets adopted the Barcelona Principles quickly as it allowed these agencies to help the communication agencies perform better. This not only started providing better insights & action points for clients but also resulted in the fortification of working relationship between the Client and its PR Firm. This created a sense of accountability and brought in cohesiveness among Client, PR Firm and the Media Analytics service provider.

The best way to do PR for PR is through Measurement. It is here that The Barcelona Principles has been a great gift and guide for the PR & Corporate Communications industry globally! Getting a PR initiative or campaign measured through the framework of Input, Output & Outcome is a simple and the most effective way to showcase the value that PR brings to the Brand Management industry!

On behalf of all the PR Measurement & Analytics service providers, I must say that we have a huge role to play in the PR for PR drive and the future growth of our industry!

Ankoor Choudharri
Concept BIU
M: +91 9820136637