Just heard alto more of the back story behind the new MRP standard recently endorsed by IABC Canada and CPRS. When the folks behind it surveyed the audience, they learned that 99% of Canadian PR professionals would use a standardized measurement system and 90% wanted standardized reach figures (what we call opportunities to see.) Those are really interesting statistics, and something we all need to listen to. As much as us measurement snobs might pooh pooh the MRP system, it is a clear case of listening to customers and delivering what they need. Is it the best system, no, but they aren't claiming it is. Is it the only measurement system you need? No, but the developers admit that they're only measuring media, nothing more, nothing less. Is it going to solve the PR credibility/accountability problem? No, but it does scratch a very specific itch --- the need for standardized circ figures, and makes it easier to keep track of your coverage in a standardized way.
That having been said, I see one enormous flaw with MRP, and that is the lack of standardized definitions of "positive" and "negative." PR people tend to decide that they "like" articles and therefore rate them positive, and forget that they should be analyzing them from the perspective of the target audience. But PR people don' t read the media like normal people. We tend to be media junkies and bear little resemblance to a typical member of a target audience
At KDPaine & Partners, we use a standard formula of "does it leave a reader more or less likely to do business with the organization," (or do whatever else the PR program is designed to do.) If it does leave the reader more likely to buy, do business, go to work for, subscribe to, the service/product etc. we consider it positive. If it leaves the reader LESS likely, its negative. Simple, but effective and a standard I've been using for 20 years, so there's a lot of consistent data that can be compared over time.
Like any system or "Standard," the results are only as good as the data going in. If the data going in is flawed, biased, or incorrectly entered, the results are worthless, no matter how cool the software might be.
So to the MPR team, I hate to tell you, but your job isn't over. You've created a good useful tool, now you need to teach people how to use it correctly. If not, bad data will result, and ultimately the C-suite will have less faith in PR results than they already do.