Do You Measure Up?
A hot topic during AMEC’s November Measurement Month
How can you know if your communications programs are effective if you don’t measure media results and determine the outcomes? How can you make data-driven recommendations about brand reputation to your C-suite, to inform future strategy and business decisions?
As 2018 winds down, these questions are being asked by communications, PR and marketing leaders, who recognize that more needs to be done to connect business data and media analytics to understand the full impact on reputation.
This is supported by one of the key findings in “The Bottom Line on Reputation,” a recent Zignal Labs-PR Week survey of 174 senior comms leaders from top brands and agencies. In the study, 74% of respondents admitted they have room to improve how they display measurable outcomes to the C-Suite. As well, 66% reported they could use better tools and tactics to do so.
Understand the Power of Meaningful Measurement and Analytics
A comprehensive measurement and analytics program helps you comprehend the impact of your communications efforts; you’ll also discover what is working, and more importantly, what isn’t.
By mining media results, you can find data-driven insights and make strategic recommendations to your senior leadership. (For specific methodologies, see my previous posts, Turn Global Data into Insights, Scoring Your Company’s Brand Health, and Media Metrics that Matter to Businesses and Brands.)
An effective analytics program can harness the power of media data and help you:
- Validate your communications efforts to your senior leadership
- Evaluate perceptions on a consistent basis, to inform an ongoing communications plan that responds to strategic change
- Recommend adjustments to your communications plan or campaign
- Inspire compelling and creative new strategies
- Formulate campaign tactics
- Listen more closely to the market and your company’s customers
- Suggest ideas to refine your company’s messages
- Uncover competitive intelligence
- Identify business and industry developments such as market growth or technology changes
- Pinpoint trends in consumer opinions
- Drive your company’s thought leadership efforts
- Power your content creation
- Enhance your company’s business decisions
As you can see, the analytics process is so much more than numbers and charts, and more relevant than audits or coverage summaries. It analyzes what drives success, and helps you determine if you are achieving your company’s business and communications goals.
Showcasing these accomplishments – in a quality impact analysis that speaks to the C-Suite – is critical to every communications plan.
Start or Reinvent a Measurement Program
November is when comms professionals reflect on the successes of 2018 and think ahead to 2019 – setting goals and making plans for the new year. If you haven’t started an analytics program at your company, now is the time to do so. If you already have one, now is the time to rethink it, and possibly reinvent it.
First, methodologies for media analytics need to be looked at differently than in the past. With the advent of artificial intelligence, hundreds of thousands of conversations can now be synthesized. And machine learning provides the compute power and the ability to learn from previous results, without being explicitly programmed. This finally brings a solution to assist with comprehending complex language such as sarcasm, irony, slang, double-positives, industry jargon, new phrases, and misspellings.
Second, comms, marketing and PR departments and agencies are coming together these days in ways never seen before. As a result, your analytics efforts can no longer be in silos.
Regardless, measurement always begins by determining business and communications goals, followed by collaboration on scope, including metrics and a thoughtful methodology. A benchmark report establishes a baseline of findings to track changes over time. Without a baseline, there is nothing to measure against. Analytics should not be an afterthought, slapped on at the end of a popular campaign.
The bottom line – Measurement is a strategic discipline for the communications industry and core to every communications program. That is one reason why AMEC (the international Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication) has dedicated the month of November to demonstrate best practices, tips and tricks across the globe.
Attend a Measurement Month Event
Every year, AMEC champions the value of media analytics with Measurement Month, a global campaign to shine the spotlight on its importance and highlight its value in local regions.
Experts from corporations, agencies, top brands, government and non-profits put measurement on the world stage, sharing their expertise and up-to-date best practices by sponsoring local events. The majority of them are free to join, including webinars, breakfast briefings, conferences, workshops, Twitter chats and podcasts.
When AMEC first launched this campaign in 2014, activities around the globe all took place in one week. Its widespread popularity generated an expansion to one month of events the following year, to focus on the gap between understanding the value of media measurement and doing something about it.
To find an event in your area, simply visit the AMEC Measurement Month Calendar.
Now that we’re in the fourth quarter, many comms professionals are evaluating their 2018 campaigns and making strategic plans for next year. Media analytics have a unique role to play in the 2019 planning process.
A meaningful measurement program should be part of every communications plan and should inform your decisions on a daily basis. If done properly, in-depth analytics provides sophisticated, relevant, meaningful and actionable insights to shape and drive future strategy. It creates connections with your target audiences; helps increase brand awareness; and builds and protects brand reputation.
Measuring and analyzing media data so you can communicate brand reputation to the C-suite is now more important than ever. As mentioned, according to the Zignal Labs-PR Week survey, 74% of senior comms leaders recognize they have room to improve, so the C-Suite can keep pulse of the company’s reputation.
In summary, measurement provides a strategic roadmap for communicating with the public, empowering your leadership with informed, data-based recommendations to drive creative positive outcomes in the new year.
You have a perfect opportunity, on the cusp of 2019.
Download the Zignal/PRWeek 2018 Brand Health Study for more findings in the survey.