One of the major themes at this year's PRSA International Conference was the pressing need to quantify the impact of PR on business. That means not only measuring accurately, but turning your focus away from activities that don't have a quantifiable impact on your business - like creating a long-running internal newsletter that employees toss upon receipt, or pitching reporters whose coverage doesn't reach your key stakeholders. Maril MacDonald and Christopher Hannegan, both of Matha MacDonald LLC, counseled PR professionals attending their session, "Drive the Results that Drive the Business," to take stock of their communications objectives and eliminate those that add no value. Their advice: First identify a number management cares about, whether it's a sales figure, customer satisfaction levels or employee absenteeism. Get familiar with the strategies management is using to achieve that number, and then find out where communications can fit in. For example, if management wants to improve absenteeism, don't just go after the behavior (skipping work) with a campaign designed to boost morale or reward those who put in a full week. Find out what beliefs and experiences are at the root of the behavior. The belief may be that management doesn't "value my contribution," a result of the experience that management has ignored employee suggestions for years. This is where communications can come in. Your campaign to make changes in employee absenteeism will make for easily measurable results. (MacDonald, Hannegan, email@example.com)
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