Barcelona Principles 2.0 is Key to PR Industry’s Growth and Relevance

If Emotions Could Be Measured

If emotions, feelings, and creativity could be measured on a scale or in ROI terms, PR types would be one happy bunch. It’s the intangible reasons that typically inspire those in the marketing field to do what they do: create copy and images that make their clients or customers happy, sad, curious, fired up – whatever emotion may convince them to buy a product or service. But since emotions cannot be measured, the PR industry must rely on things that CAN be.

Enter the Barcelona Principles: a set of seven principles that provide a framework for communication and public relations measurement.*

The bottom line is: The more it can be measured, the more effective it can become. And, one measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions.

Keeping the Principles Relevant

The original 2010 Barcelona Principles were updated in 2015 to reflect the value of social/digital media; the need for outcome, as well as of output, based measurement of PR campaigns, and to call for the exclusion of ad value equivalency metrics. Introducing Barcelona Principles 2.0:

• Goal Setting and Measurement are Fundamental to Communication and Public Relations
• Measuring Communication Outcomes is Recommended Versus Only Measuring Outputs
• The Effect on Organizational Performance Can and Should Be Measured Where Possible
• Measurement and Evaluation Require Both Qualitative and Quantitative Methods
• AVEs are not the Value of Communications
• Social Media Can and Should be Measured Consistently with Other Media Channels
• Measurement and Evaluation Should be Transparent, Consistent and Valid

More Than Just PR Measurement

The Principles recognize – and encourage others to view – marketing and communications as an integrated model and discipline. PR is part of that integration and does not exist in a silo, so neither should its measurement. It must be a part of the larger picture of how a company’s overall communications are performing. The Principles outline the importance of measuring and analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data – and ultimately give direction on how to repeat what’s working and avoid what isn’t.

Analytical vs. Creative

As creative minds, PR practitioners understand that emotional and inspirational messaging is essential to boost a brand, change behaviors or reach a new customer. But analytics, specifically Return on Investment (ROI), always has a voice. And it’s the voice that all CEOs and anyone spending money on a marketing campaign want to hear. How is the value of our investment measured? How do we really know the message is being heard? Numbers. It’s always a numbers game. And the only way to truly measure creativity is through the Barcelona Principles. For now.

Future of PR Measurement

So, what does the future hold for the PR industry when it comes to measuring what we do? How do we determine whether a tweet is better than a YouTube video or a Facebook post or Pinterest board? The Principles give us our best chance at knowing. As the world continues to scratch the digital surface, so must we as communicators consider how we measure ourselves and be willing to hit the refresh button.

*As PR innovators, GillespieHall has been measuring output and outcomes since 2006, when we opened up our first digital PR department. We also endorse the Barcelona Principles 2.0.

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