Measuring PR Impact Requires a Philosophy of Building Relationships

Dwayne Roark, Director, Global Business Communications, The Dow Chemical Company
Dwayne Roark, The Dow Chemical Company

It's one thing to say that PR is important, and we all know that it is, but it's a whole other thing to say just how important PR is to an organization's bottom line. That's where measurement comes in.

In a business environment where statistics and hard numbers rule the day, PR professionals are consistently asked to quantify their impact on the success of their organizations. The questions of how and what to measure must be built into a PR program from its inception, and there are never any easy answers.

Dwayne Roark, director of global business communications at The Dow Chemical Company and a speaker at  PR News' April 8 Measurement Conference, offers a place to start and a few pieces of advice on the topic:

  • Developing an efficient and effective process for measuring PR impact on a business requires a philosophy of building relationships throughout the value chain. These relationships need to create two-way communication that continuously offers feedback and updates on the outcomes of these interactions.
  • Communications is a discipline that plays the lead role for positioning a business for growth. This starts with identifying your stakeholders and what role this stakeholder plays in your business being in a growth position. You then must develop the messaging strategy and then identify the proper channels to use in order to reach this stakeholder.
  • PR plays a very important role as it impacts many stakeholders found in the value chain and lends itself to areas of credibility that are simply not found with other communications channels. Measuring the effectiveness of your PR and completing your dashboard requires a business to look at the individual stakeholders being targeted by the given PR effort and to identify the objective for each stakeholder. It is then a matter of putting the tools in place to determine if this objective was achieved.

To learn more about PR measurement from experts at GE, Weber Shandwick, MasterCard, Motorola Solutions and others, register for PR News' Measurement Conference on April 8 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

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  • Nick Searles

    What to measure is huge. Sometimes there is a wall between sales and marketing. Everyone has to have good, clean & working ears so if there are changes needed it gets said, it gets heard & it gets done.

  • garland

    We know measurement is important. The question is “how”? What kinds of measurement tools should be integrated into a communications strategy? And how does one design a viable tool of measurement?

    While working for a telecom company that was being acquired, my supervisor created a short employee survey to measure their attitudes and opinions. I had recently completed graduate school and, after reviewing the survey, volunteered to flesh it out.

    I conducted research on company acquisitions at a nearby university library. The information revealed most acquisitions fail due to decreased morale and productivity, and high turnover rates.

    Using the information, I created a more comprehensive document that targeted specific employee positions and departments. I also addressed key employee concerns that normally accompany acquisitions.

    More than 90 percent of the employees replied, resulting in rich information that helped ensure a successful acquisition and smooth transition. Not only was the data beneficial to our company’s executives, the acquiring company’s management team was pleased with the results. Especially since they viewed our engineers as a key asset.

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