Riddle me this…

posted by Brendan Hodgson

I was perusing some old presentations on PR measurement (and there are many) and one slide (#19 – Ongoing evaluation) kept nagging my brain… granted, it’s only 8 AM EST and I’ve consumed but one cup of coffee… but the point (I think) the slide is making is interesting, and one that deserves strong consideration.

The sum of the slide being that PR Value and PR ROI are two very different things. Which, at first blush, makes a lot of sense considering that value is very much determined by the level of expectation set at the outset by both we, the consultants, and our clients. Whereas ROI is tied to more financial implications such as cost-savings, sales or leads generated, or – as the slide puts it – cost avoidance.

The notion that value is as much about ‘Return on Expectation’ vs ‘Return on Investment’ is a powerful one that I believe PR practioners need to give additional weight to in their programming activities. For example. I had a client that recently dropped (what I felt) was an excessive wad of dough on doing a webcast of an event. The numbers, if looked at from the perspective of pure ROI, or cost-per-viewer, were dismal. However, the president of the company was absolutely thrilled with the outcome of the webcast for the simple reason that the feedback he received was extremely positive – primarily, given that the vast majority of viewers were employees. Strong employee relations was a key goal of this president… one that he felt events and “investments” such as this helped him to achieve.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, this also means that we need to do a better job at figuring out – or defining – what “value” means to each of our clients – and that it may not simply be a financial value. Does this make our job harder or easier? You tell me.

And, by the by, cheers to Niall for his 100th post

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