The International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication ((AMEC), the UK Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA), and the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) have produced an online "Definitive Guide to Measurement." The Guide is a handsome and vibrant compendium of 12 well-written chapters from experts in Europe, North America, Australia, and South Africa. As you read it you get a sense of the tremendous energy and activity of AMEC and its members. Some heavy hitters in the world of measurement have contributed to the Guide, including Giselle Bodie, CEO of Salience Insight, a company owned by News Group International. (The Measurement Standard is a News Group International publication.)
While the Guide claims that it is, "an everyday practical desktop reference source for PR professionals," it is not. Nor is it "Definitive," as its title claims.
Most of the Guide's content is about AMEC, measurement's importance and recent history, case studies, and broad advice for general measurement strategy. It includes lots of big photos of the contributors. While it does have some useful advice of a practical, how-to nature, most of that is buried in other text and difficult to quickly recognize, locate, or refer to. Most readers will never dig far enough to discover, for instance, that Marion McDonald's chapter includes brilliant tips on expressing insights, or that Richard Bagnall's chapter has some great practical social media measurement tips. Ms. Bodie's chapter is the only one that is organized to provide practical advice that is quickly accessible by the reader.
It is interesting to note that the Guide barely mentions the recent industry-wide efforts and successes in setting public relations and social media measurement standards. In fact, the Glossary (Chapter 12) does not even mention standards. It does list The Coalition and The Conclave, which are two of the major groups dedicated to developing measurement standards, yet somehow does not use the word "standards" in its description of them. The Guide does, several times, discuss the Barcelona Principles, emphasizing that they were adopted at the AMEC European Measurement Summit in 2010.
The concept of an online measurement reference guide with practical advice is a great idea. The authors of the Guide say they plan to update and refresh it in the future. Let's hope they provide more information of a practical and useful nature. And let's hope the material is organized for the convenience of the reader, so that information can be quickly and easily located.
- For an authoritative guide to measurement, refer to Don Stack's Primer of Public Relations Research.
- For more comments on the Guide, see examiner.com.
Bill Paarlberg, Editor of The Measurement Standard, has been writing about public relations measurement for 20 years. He is editor of the award-winning "Measuring the Networked Nonprofit" by Beth Kanter and Katie Paine, and editor of two other books on measurement by Katie Paine, "Measure What Matters" and "Measuring Public Relationships." Visit Bill Paarlberg's page on LinkedIn.
The Measurement Standard is a publication of News Group International.