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From Sales Results to Saving Lives: Takeaways From the AMEC 2014 International Measurement Summit


July 1, 2014

The biggest annual event in measurement took place in Amsterdam on June 11-12: the AMEC’s International Measurement Summit. Speakers and participants representing 36 countries gathered to discuss this year’s theme, “From Measurement to Insights.”

As PR measurement continues to advance, the future of our profession is in the hands of Millennials. Here, Marni Zapakin, a project manager on my team at Ketchum and a member of this influential demographic, shares what she learned.

Picture a 27 year old who has been working in PR research for four years, suddenly surrounded by about 250 of the profession’s leading experts. I tried not to be intimidated and instead focused on what I could learn from their experience.

Here is what I came away with: 

Integration is our future

The face of public relations and measurement is changing. The first AMEC Summit in 2009 drew mainly traditional media monitoring and measurement companies. Now agencies, consultancies, survey panels, for-profit companies, NGOs and social media firms are all present.

By next year, the list of attendees will likely expand to include people from digital, Web analytics service providers and advertising experts. Paid, earned, shared and owned channel experts will all be present, as well as the clients who use these channels.

Turn “unsights” to “insights” 

An insight is a relevant and authentic human or cultural truth derived from research. Clients want clear insights that tell them what the research means for improving their business or reaching their goals. Everything else is just noise.

Measurement is shifting from telling you about the past.  Instead, smarter insights can predict how to be better in the future.

True insights come from qualitative and quantitative research

Emotions and feelings drive consumer behavior, but they are hard to count. Professor Jim Macnamara, Ph.D., from the University of Technology in Sydney, presented a new and exciting model of how to bring qualitative and quantitative research together to derive smarter insights that are based on fact and emotion. This will be an important part of PR measurement’s future.

Don’t show numbers; tell a short and sweet story

It is our job to make sure that our clients can easily and clearly talk about numbers with internal and external audiences. We don’t need to explain how we got to every data point. Pull the most important information and use it to create a story that solves clients’ problems.

Be relevant

The stories that we tell and the ways that we measure must be relevant to the people we are trying to reach. Otherwise, no one will pay attention.

To gain trust, improve reputation, and drive behavior, we need to focus on what our audiences care about.

Can the Barcelona Principles save lives?

UNICEF, Cleveland Clinic, CARE International and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have all implemented the Barcelona Principles. Smarter communications measurement means that their messages reach the right people in the right places, allowing them to devote more resources to saving lives, raising money and getting people better care.

Additionally, the U.K. government has had better human outcomes throughout the country since requiring all communications functions to use the Principles, reported Alex Aiken, the head of the U.K. Government Communication Service.

It made me feel proud to be a part of an exciting, vibrant field that we can measure by everything from sales results to saving lives.


Learn more about the AMEC Summit and obtain copies of the materials here.

David B. Rockland, Ph.D. David B. Rockland, Ph.D. is partner/CEO and managing director for the research and change communications businesses at Ketchum. He has held leadership positions in corporate communications and research throughout his career, with extensive global experience in both fields.
Email: AskDocRock at prsa.org



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