Think of your last event. Was it a success?
In the past, when David Scholz asked a client this same question, he was told everyone had clapped so it must have been a success. Clapping was how they measured a successful event.
Today, however, the public relations industry has greatly advanced in how it collects and reports data, conducts research and ultimately, quantifies success. But we know that the landscape of public relations campaign design and initiatives are ever-evolving, as are the measurement standards and tools being used to evaluate them. So how do practitioners keep up with the quickening pace of data science?
On February 5, 2018, four leading industry experts spoke to members of CPRS Toronto on how essential data has become in informing strategy in the digital age and how to leverage it.
- Catherine Yuile: Executive Vice President of Insights & Analytics, Edelman Canada
- Blaine Mackie: Data Scientist, National PR
- Diane Begin: Vice President, Ruckus Digital
- Jess Hunichen: Co-Founder, Shine Influencers
- Moderated by Dave Scholz: Managing Partner, Léger
1. Measuring quality over quantity
The quality over quantity debate has become a recurring theme as the production of information and data continues to increase in volume, with quality continuing to win out. The panel advised on going beyond traditional impressions and learning how to measure the quality of a campaign, event or coverage.
“At Edelman, our team has been looking at items like social sentiment,” explained Catherine Yuile, President of Insights & Analytics, Edelman Canada. “This approach to data enables us to efficiently track the perception, tone and overall quality of our content. It also aids in answering the most important question: is it really making a difference for the brand?”
2. Demystifying using data
With the advertising, marketing and public relations industries continuing to intersect, communicators are increasingly seeking to prove the value of public relations to clients. Data can tangibly show your works worth by breaking it down, and data scientist Blaine Mackie said this is a win-win situation.
“Having data available leaves you equipped with well-founded support and allows you to justify campaign initiatives.” Mackie told the audience. “It can come in handy when a client asks to check-in, or when budget is up for discussion. It can also reduce the margin for error. With data available, you can identify a point where something has gone wrong and fix it, benefitting both you and your client.”
3. Measuring the “right” variables
This may seem like simple advice, but in an era overcrowded with information, choosing what should be measured can become a lengthy laundry list if not done strategically. Diane Begin, Vice President, Ruckus Digital, mentioned that she has dealt with clients who were measuring basically everything they could to try to get an insight.
“There is so much out there, and it’s our job to guide our teams and clients on what the right, meaningful variables are to measure,” said Begin. “It’s in everyone’s best interest to ensure what we’re measuring is fully aligned with the business’s objectives. As a result, we’re more likely to see how we’re moving the brand, allowing us to see a real ROI.
4. Storytelling still counts
There’s no question that the industry’s dependence on data has swiftly intensified. Accurately measured numbers reinforce the value of our work and they can influence our work’s success.
However, despite all the change that the public relations industry has undergone, the core of the profession hasn’t changed – storytelling still reigns supreme over data.
“It’s not just about having lots of insights and numbers, but about how you leverage and weave the information into storytelling,” said Shine Influencer’s Co-Founder Jessica Hunichen. “Being able to tell the story within the numbers—and do it effectively—has become more important than ever. Data, research and insight will contribute to success, but storytelling is what will guarantee that success.”