“Do you have any objectives for 2017?” Everyone said ‘no’ when we asked this question to a dozen or so of our customers. This came as a surprise because objectives are becoming increasingly important. They show where you are heading and make it easier to evaluate and report your PR successes. How do you formulate your objectives and how can Monalyse help you when doing so?
When formulating objectives, we base ourselves on the guidelines of the Association of Measurement and Evaluation of Communications (AMEC), of which Monalyse is a certified member. AMEC presented the Barcelona Principles in 2010 and 2015: seven guidelines that help PR and communication professionals to better determine and evaluate the impact of their work.
A few tips and pointers have been provided below.
Output as yardstick, outcome as goal
Two different results need to be measured in any campaign or initiative. The first one is output, which includes the number of impressions, advertising value, reach, sentiment, perceived message or number of mentioned spokespersons. All of this data can be obtained via Monalyse. Many of our customers see this output as the final result.
However, this is a misconception. The second result, namely outcome, is your actual goal. This includes changes in image or reputation, behavioural changes in your target group or specific courses of action. A different approach is adopted when collecting these results: using surveys or interviews or by counting the number of new donor registrations or visitors to an exhibition.
Monalyse regards output as a yardstick for your final objective. Measuring and evaluating it allows you to monitor progress in your outcome and to modify it if necessary.
Break down your final goal
You can maintain a clear overview by breaking down your main outcome into several separate output objectives. In this approach, your objectives (the triangles A, B, C, D in the diagram below) help to support your final goal. Objectives must be SMART because you need to measure them in order to determine the success of your final goal. What are you going to do, for whom, with which medium and with which purpose?
One clear objective, which I like to give as an example during presentations and discussions, comes from Louis van Gaal when he managed Manchester United:
Although Louis is not short of ambition, the objective itself is problematic. Firstly, there is only one measurement moment (at the end of the season) and measurement method (successful or not). Secondly, Louis hasn't said anything about the underlying factors that contribute to the final goal. For instance, the amount of ball possession, fitness of players, technique, number of saves by the keeper, etc. But also off-field factors, like budget for new players, the physiotherapist and your starting point.
The final goal is clear. Small measurable objectives can be used to better identify how you are progressing in, and how you will get to, your final goal.
Advertising values: no end goal
The usefulness of advertising value and free publicity value is a topic of great debate. What do these figures really say about the effect and impact of campaigns? Monalyse believes that actual impact cannot be expressed as a single monetary value. For example, advertising values alone say little about changes in behaviour and attitude in the concerned target group. Nonetheless, they are still commonly used as the final goal or are presented as the outcome of a campaign. This is misleading because free publicity values only provide an indication.
Reach-related figures are also often used to demonstrate level of success or impact, even though they only tell you how well your message was distributed. You must actually adopt another approach to measure whether people also respond to your message.