Back in March, this blog ran a three-post series on the subject of office politics and public relations measurement: Why should we go to the effort of doing proper public relations research if we know our results are going to be buried or distorted?
- Concerning "The Wire" and Measurement: How does politics affect public relations measurement?
- Office Politics and Public Relations Measurement: Are we measuring the wrong thing?
- How Can We Take Office Politics Into Account When Doing Public Relations Measurement? »
"The former head of the highway safety agency said he was urged to withhold the research to avoid antagonizing members of Congress who had warned the agency to stick to its mission of gathering safety data but not to lobby states.
Critics say that rationale and the failure of the Transportation Department, which oversees the highway agency, to more vigorously pursue distracted driving has cost lives and allowed to blossom a culture of behind-the-wheel multitasking."
Our point here is not to wax all righteous about the pitfalls of government-funded research, but to point out, once again, that public relations measurement is only as good as what people do with it. If you do good measurement and nobody wants to hear the results, is it still good measurement?
The public relations measurement industry often laments that people don't measure enough: Not enough budget or time or expertise. Well here's another idea: Maybe they don't measure because they feel sure the news will be unpleasant, and they don't want to hear -- or deal -- with it. --Bill Paarlberg