One could argue that Jack O’Dwyer is the Helen Thomas of PR journalism. He’s probably covered every organization, every launch and every trend in PR since Edward Bernais started writing press releases.
And so most of us in the industry sit up and take notice when he has something to say.
Unfortunately, a recent series of blog posts has demonstrated his woeful ignorance of the basic tenets of PR measurement and indeed the recent standard-setting progress of the entire industry.
He began last week by calling me out on my stand against Advertising Value Equivalency (“Paine Calls PR Ad Values 'Cancer' - Wrong!.”) And then dug himself in deeper by calling the measurement industry, “...an uncreative barnacle on the hull of PR,” adding that, “It needs to be put in its place.”
He also asserted that “The job of PR and advertising is to bring the attention of target audiences to the product or service. Print and broadcast clips should be virtually the sole measurement.” At which point about a dozen people on Twitter wondered what century he was living in.
You can read my response here, “The Blogging Barnacle Responds.” I'm sure there will be lots more back and forth on this. (Update: See our post "Jack O'Dwyer, the Anti-Measurer.")
Whatever the dueling blog posts to come, the problem here is that Jack O'Dwyer has missed the entire point of the Barcelona Principles. Not to mention the point of most of my writing and, in fact, the entire careers of almost everyone doing serious, state-of-the-art public relations measurement.
One more time: Measuring impressions is very different from measuring outcomes. The value of public relations is not about the clips or the impressions — it's about how you are impacting the business.
Maybe that impact is on reputation, maybe it’s on relationships and maybe it’s persuading more people to buy the product. The point is that the business impacts of PR go far, far beyond how many times someone's name appears in the paper. And with appropriate metrics you can understand those impacts and then make better business decisions.
Which is why, for his advocacy to reduce the accountability of PR people, we’ve named him our Measurement Menace of the Month. Congratulations, Jack. -- KDP