The most enduring question that has been constantly raised during my public relations career is how do you measure public relations success, or if you like in bean counting terms, justification for the cost outlay.

One means of measurement which is totally false and misleading is to measure the editorial achieved and multiply it by the advertising rate to get an advertising equivalent figure.

I was reminded of this hocus pocus logic by a story in the current edition of BRW about the Chilean miners being given Oakley sunnies to protect their eyes when they reached the surface. According to the article research done by sponsorship evaluation firm CNBC the exposure would have been the equivalent of $41 million in advertising time.

What absolute garbage. It wasn’t advertising and I for one did not identify the brand, but presumably I (and many millions like me) was included in the estimate.

Public relations is much more than media coverage, and success evaluation techniques have reached much greater levels of sophistication in recent years and there is a concerted move to work to achieve internationally recognised standards.

When I am asked about how do you measure PR success, I always go back to definition that says ‘public relations is an objective driven management discipline’.

This implies that you first have to agree on the objectives, and then the measurement of success is the achievement of those objectives, or measurement of the building blocks that you will need to achieve.

I hope that doesn’t sound too complex or management speak, but I can assure you it is a much more accurate definition of how you measure PR success than by taking the volume of the exposure and multiplying by the advertising rate.

I would value any input from other blog followers on their experiences with evaluation of PR success?

Dennis Rutzou
@DennisRutzouPR