Explainer: Barcelona Principles

two people looking over charts and graphs for communications measurement

[Editor’s Note: Even experienced PR professionals need a refresher on the basics from time to time, as well as insight about newer concepts. Whether it’s how to become a better writer or a review of PR ethics, PRNEWS aims to provide readers with content about a variety of topics and issues. Hence, our Explainer series was born.]

Previous posts looked at the Metaverse, “off the record” and sonic branding.

Today we review the Barcelona Principles.]

What are the Barcelona Principles?

The International Association of Measurement and Evaluation Communication (AMEC) conceived these guidelines during an annual convention in Barcelona, Spain, in 2010. The Principles establish goal setting as a prelude to communication measurement. According to the AEMC, the Principles also provide an “industry-wide consensus on measurement and evaluation.” In addition, they rebuke AVEs, urge qualitative and quantitative measurement and emphasize that transparency and integrity are essential for communication measurement.

As practices, methods and technology changes, the Principles evolve. In 2020, an updated version, the Barcelona Principles 3.0, debuted.

The seven Barcelona Principles are:

  1. Setting goals is an absolute prerequisite to communications planning, measurement, and evaluation.
  2. Measurement and evaluation should identify outputs, outcomes, and potential impact.
  3. Outcomes and impact should be identified for stakeholders, society, and the organization.
  4. Communication measurement and evaluation should include both qualitative and quantitative analysis.
  5. AVEs (Advertising Value Equivalency) are not the value of communication.
  6. Holistic communication measurement and evaluation includes all relevant online and offline channels.
  7. Communication measurement and evaluation are rooted in integrity and transparency to drive learning and insights.

Why this Matters to Communicators 

Various methods are used to measure communication's effectiveness. However, the Barcelona Principles provide PR pros with start and end points applicable to situations and organizations across the globe. The measurement guide allows communicators to show not just the value of their efforts, but how they can continue to improve across departments and strategies. 

More PRNEWS resources about the Barcelona Principles:

Nicole Schuman is senior editor for PRNEWS. Follow her @buffalogal