It goes without saying that evaluating return on investment is an economic necessity these days. The PR business is no exception.
When it comes to evaluating the effects of a PR campaign, the question is not “how many articles were written?”, but ultimately s: “what is the impact on the awareness and image of the organisation?” or “what changes did the campaign effect among the target group?”; “has their perception altered and their behaviour changed?”; ” have critical factors been removed that could pose a risk to the future of the company?”.
There is a whole range of evaluation tools available, from the simplest to the most complex, providing quantitative and qualitative measurements. Before starting on a communication campaign, it is important to consider exactly what you want to evaluate and allocate the necessary budget. Ultimately, this form of evaluation needs to be in line with the predefined communication objectives and the contribution to delivering business returns.
It is possible to evaluate at three levels :
• have we done what we proposed in the plan?
• have all activities contributed to reaching the intended target audiences?
• how many people have we reached, how often, and over which period?
• which messages have the target groups received and retained?
• were these accurate and positive?
• to what extent did the communication plan contribute to changing perceptions and intentions?
• did we achieve the results that were expected?
• have these results contributed to achieving business objectives ?
• how have we been able to change the behaviour of the target groups?
• to what extent has the PR campaign contributed to increasing sales, increasing consumer loyalty towards the brand, generating additional income or blocking/rejection of a particular legislative proposal?
• are the risks for a conflict diminished ?
• what lessons have we learned for the future?
Any consultancy that is a member of the BPRCA can offer you the latest industry-standard evaluation tools:
• opinion polls and surveys (pre- and post-implementation of communication campaign);
• focus and discussion groups;
• quantitative and qualitative analysis of media results.
• employee satisfaction programmes
Some consultancies offer their own evaluation programmes.