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As communications experts, we should be able to convey the value of our services to the business managers in our organizations. Yet how many of us have a hard time finding the right way to express this to senior executives?
There’s no doubt that PR measurement is difficult. Not convinced? Consider how each function in the executive suite adds a tangible and measurable value to the success of the company. The chief financial officer ties his or her success to the operating income, while the vice president of sales and the vice president of marketing tie their successes to revenues. By contrast, PR practitioners cite the number of impressions and press releases as the results of their efforts. They compare their organizations’ coverage to that of the company’s competitors. They assign monetary value to their work by calculating the advertising value equivalency (AVE), an oft-criticized method of devising a value for media coverage by comparing it to the price of advertising. Sure, they conduct customer-satisfaction surveys and primary research to measure relationships, but is this enough to prove that public relations contributes to the bottom line?