Metrics are the language an organization’s department uses to represent its value to the rest of the organization. Metrics, when well chosen, serve as much a storytelling function as they do a benchmarking and performance evaluation one.
That’s why it is very important for public relations and communications management professionals to choose metrics that adequately capture the reality of the work you are doing and what you are achieving for the organization.
Dave Scholz, in an article written for the Journal of Professional Communication sums it up nicely: “This statement by the summit members is the ongoing issue, I believe, when it comes to AVE. When AVE goes away, it leaves a return on investment vacuum for many people in the industry.” Dave is specifically talking about Advertising Value Equivalence and how it is a bad metric for PR here, but his more general point is well-taken. There is a vacuum of good metrics in PR.
Later in his article, Dave talks about the Barcelona Principles as a great start for developing effective public relations and communications management metrics.
For me, the key is to focus on developing a set of metrics, in consultation with the decision-makers in your organization that accurately capture the the three Rs:
- Relationships, and
- Reliable Results.