Every year in November, the world’s PR and communications industry shifts its focus to the importance of measurement and evaluation. The International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) calls it the measurement month. Today, we also want to take the opportunity of the Measurement Month and speak about the challenges of PR evaluation. In particular, we wanted to focus on the need for communicators to resist the urge of just counting basic “activity-related” metrics as if it is meaningful measurement.

Midas PR has always actively supported and promoted the Barcelona Principles — a set of seven voluntary guidelines established by the public relations industry to measure the efficiency of PR campaigns. This declaration represents an industry-wide consensus on the framework for effective public relations and communications measurement. Now in its third iteration, known as the Barcelona Principles 3.0, the declaration tightens the communication industry’s focus on impact, inclusion, and integrity as well as acknowledges the industry as being one that is rapidly evolving.

So what exactly are the Barcelona Principles?

Principle One

Setting measurable goals is an absolute prerequisite to communication planning, measurement, and evaluation.

The phrase “absolute prerequisite” was added to highlight how important it is to have measurable goals before any planning or execution begins.

Principle Two

Measurement and evaluation should identify outputs, outcomes, and potential impact.

The principle incorporates the values of measuring both outputs and outcomes as well as the prospective overall impact of the campaign.

Principle Three

Outcomes and impact should be identified for stakeholders, society and the organization.

This principle provides a broader scope for outcomes that goes beyond business metrics, taking into account organizations that may have objectives beyond being simply profit-driven, such as NGOs and charities.

Principle Four

Communication measurement and evaluation should include both qualitative and quantitative analysis.

In the past, the focus of this principle has been on media measurements, but now that becomes one part of the many prospective measurements. This principle has now involved both quantitative and qualitative analysis, allowing communication planners to scope the full value of their work, such as how messages are received, believed, and interpreted, instead of just looking at how many people saw the message.

Principle Five

AVEs are not the value of communication.

The message to denounce the use of AVEs has been the bedrock of Barcelona Principles in how to measure communication and that message remains relevant even today.

Principle Six

Holistic communication measurement evaluation includes all relevant online and offline media channels.

The 3.0 iteration of the Barcelona Principle evolves from the previous one in not just recognizing social media as a valuable tool but also acknowledging its evolution and consistent communication capabilities, opportunities, and influence. As a result, all relevant online and offline channels should be measured and evaluated equally.

Principle Seven

Communication measurement and evaluation are rooted in integrity and transparency to drive learning and insights.

While measurement is vital for proving performance, it should also be used as a tool to learn from evaluation and apply the lessons back into campaign planning. This principle recognizes the need for transparency, something that is becoming highly critical in today’s era, and to consistently adhere to any new regulations when it comes to data, such as GDPR.

At Midas PR, we strive to adhere to these principles as well as continuously learn and evolve with the times, further developing our methodologies and refining our approach.  To find out more about how we can utilize the world’s best practices to assist your businesses, contact us at karin@midas-pr.com or visit our website www.midas-pr.com