Not the David Wynne-Morgan way to measure PR

Reading the Hardcastle column in the Daily Mail on David Wynne-Morgan brought 80s PR consultancy memories flooding back.  Two hour lunches and big budgets were the norm.  As a Northerner I jostled with glamorous gels, public-school chaps and DWM himself - “the best connected PR man in London”.

The columnist described how DMW once asked Lord McNally to poll MPs on their views on a prospect’s company and product.  With the Commons in recess, McNally only got replies from 3 MPs.  Undaunted, DWM told his prospect that a third of MPs hadn’t heard of it, a third didn’t like its product and a third thought the image hopeless.  He won the account.

With a further 20 years in PR, here’s the gold standard for PR evaluation.

Leg one is the audit. What is your image like v your rivals?  Does real research suggest you’re invisible or unloved?  Do your staff and key influencers reflect you accurately?  Are journalists fans or indifferent?  Do bloggers pursue you?

Leg 2 sets measurable goals.  Do you want a sunnier sales climate or lead generation? A copper-bottomed reputation or a fresher image?

Leg 3 is what geeks call Outputs, Out-takes and Outcome.   Outputs just measure message distribution via mailings, media coverage etc.  It’s a little discredited.  Out-take is smarter, measuring how far audiences are getting, grasping and retaining messages and their impressions and feelings. Surveys and focus groups rule here and we favour Out-takes.

Outcomes are the real measure though - the degree of change in attitudes and perceptions. If positive, change is often obvious and self-measuring – sales grow, share prices climb, donations roll in, everyone wants to be a part of you.    But if the signs are unclear, revert to Out-takes.

Leg 4 says don’t leave evaluation to the campaign end but measure half-way. Are targets being reached, and do you need to adjust PR tactics?  Leg 5 is the final count.  Hit goals yet?  Good, then re-set your next ones!   Email me for more!

Kay Williamson