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How do you measure success?

There is one term I truly hate in public relations – Advertising Equivalency Value, or AVE.

For those not familiar with AVE, it’s a formula used to determine what editorial coverage we public relations folks secure for our clients/brands/companies would cost if it were advertising space or time.

There is just one very major problem with this – AVEs are not the value of public relations!!

Imagine my joy when Ruth Pestana, worldwide director for strategic services for Hill & Knowlton, had the exact same sentiment during a recent BurrellesLuce webinar (moderated by the lovely Johna Burke).

During the session, I learned valuable ways to help others understand the uselessness of the AVE.

They do not:

  • Capture the OUTCOME of a public relations campaign, limited what we do to simply placement in the media
  • Capture message delivery
  • Factor in photos or headline mentions
  • Measure new forms of media – including a little (sarcasm) thing called SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Measure earned value – instead focusing on cost savings if one chose advertising instead

Pestana went on to discuss a strategic public relations task force she participated on, which spent hundredsupon hundreds of hours debating a better method to measure success over time. The result – Barcelona Principles.

This framework, debuted at a Barcelona public relations conference in 2010 (hence the name), focuses on goal-setting and planning rather than a generic measurement formula after the fact. It also aligns with the communications funnel, which includes:

  • Building awareness,
  • Creating knowledge;
  • Increasing interest;
  • Helping give
    preference; and eventually
  • Moving to action

So, here is my question – are you adopting the Barcelona Principles? Still being forced into AVE reports? Or are you doing your own thing? If so – tell us all about it!

Comment below.

Alison Bailin
Alison Bailin
Senior Account Executive Alison has a lot to say…about pretty much everything...all the time. From the current state of public relations to the social media impact on Shark Week to crisis communications in the sports world, Alison’s blogs are focused on “amusing through her PR musings,” and then some. Check out Alison's full bio

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