This is one of those months when we have an over-abundance of Measurement Mavens to celebrate. The long list of praiseworthy people includes: inductees into the PR Measurement Hall of Fame, members of The Conclave, and all the presenters at last week's PR News Measurement Conference and Bulldog Reporter webinar. A big round of applause to you all: Thanks for being role models for everyone trying to bring more and better measurement into their programs.
But this month there is one Measurement Maven who trumps everyone else: Jack Felton, who passed away early in May at the age of 84.
As it happens I heard the news of Jack Felton’s passing just as the New Hampshire media was full of articles on the ten year anniversary of the “death” of the Old Man of the Mountain, a granite outcropping that served for centuries as a symbol of our state's rugged character. Jack was PR measurement’s Old Man of the Mountain, a symbol of the enduring nature of what we do, and a beacon for future generations.
I met Jack at a PRSA conference in St. Louis, where he gathered a few of us together and asked “Why can’t we agree upon a standard for measuring PR?” That question proved to be the launching pad for the IPR Measurement Commission, and, ultimately, an industry-wide effort to establish standards and best practices for PR measurement. As it happens, Jack passed away a week before The Conclave met to finalize its work establishing social media measurement standards.
Today's world of communications would have been far bleaker without Jack Felton's many years of energy and benevolent leadership. Only Jack could have gotten arch rivals into the same room together with academic types and emerge with commitments from all parties to collaborate on establishing best practices. Without him, we would all be promoting our own proprietary ways, instead of working together to set standards.
It was Jack who said I should write a paper on “How to Measure Blogs,” which lead to the beginning of KD Paine's PR Measurement Blog. That's when I began in earnest my quest to put metrics and values on social media and to kill off AVEs. Without his provocation and prodding, I’d probably have died of boredom by now.
So, thank you Jack, for the huge difference you made in my life, and for all your contributions to public relations and measurement. Here's the answer to that question you posed to us all those years ago in St. Louis: “Yes, Jack, there are PR and social media measurement standards, thanks to you.”
- Read an extended biography of Jack Felton at the PRSA site.
- Read a memorial post on Jack Felton at the IPR site.
Katie Delahaye Paine is Chairman, KDPaine & Partners, (a Salience Insight company), and Chief Marketing Officer of News Group International. KDP&P delivers custom research to measure brand image, public relationships, and engagement. Katie Paine is a dynamic and experienced speaker on public relations and social media measurement. Click here for the schedule of Katie’s upcoming speaking engagements. Katie and Beth Kanter are authors of the book “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit,” published last year by Wiley.
The Measurement Standard is a publication of KDPaine & Partners, a company that delivers custom research to measure brand image, public relationships, and engagement. Katie Paine, Chairman of KDPaine & Partners, will be glad to talk with you about measurement for your organization.