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Polish PR specialists on PR measurement


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The report presents analyis of research results, conducted by the author by users of discussion group in December 2009 – January 2011. The research covered opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement and it was planned to solve research problems drafted in the introduction to the Anna Miotk’s doctoral dissertation titled „Methods of PR measurement and evaluation used in Poland”.

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Polish PR specialists on PR measurement

  1. 1. 2010Anna Miotk,Ph.D.[ANNA MIOTK: OPINIONS OFPOLISH PR SPECIALISTS ON PRMEASUREMENT. A REPORT]Presentation of research results – survey conducted in January 2010
  2. 2. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A reportIntroductionThis report is an analysis of research results, conducted by the author on users of discussion in December 2009 – January 2011. Research covered opinions of Polish PR specialistson PR measurement and it was planned to solve research problems drafted in the introduction toAnna Miotk’s doctoral dissertation titled „Methods of PR measurement and evaluation used inPoland”.This document consists of following parts: key findings, research methodology description, detailedfindings and detailed information on research participants. The last part of the report containsconclusions.Key findings • 91% of researched PR specialists use media relations as the PR tool and media content analysis is regarded by 70% of researched as the research method which gives the most detailed information. It may show the „mediocentric” character of public relations in Poland – understanding public relations mainly as media relations. • Majority of the researched – 96% - consider, that planning PR activities in form of a PR strategy is necessary. • The researched PR specialists acknowledge that use of research is not sufficient in following parts of PR process defined by the author as initial analysis, strategy, implementation and evaluation. The biggest portion of the researched – nearly 90% - pointed out, that research use is not sufficient in PR evaluation, then – in initial analysis – nearly 70%, then – in creating PR strategy – 60% and during PR activities implementation – nearly 50%. • The researched PR specialists do not have detailed knowledge on methods and techniques1. The most frequently mentioned barrier for PR measurement was „lack of knowledge, how to measure the PR results”. 60% of the researched have chosen this answer. • PR specialists taking part in the research had problems with unambiguous evaluation of media content analysis as the research technique. The distribution of answers for this questions varied a lot and „other” category was selected more frequently than in case of the other questions. There were also answers such as „content analysis allows both to check quality of press coverage and estimate the reaction of target groups”, which is not compliant with methodological knowledge (impossibility to assess reaction of target groups is one of weaknesses of media content analysis). • In case of Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) 62% of the researched acknowledged, that „the technique is not authoritative – PR and advertising activities are not the same, so they cannot be measured with the same measure” and 35% – that „it allows to easily present to management (clients) the value of PR work performed”. In turn, 3% of the researched selected the option „other” and wrote „it shows the value of the PR specialist work, but is not authoritative”, combining both answers from the questionnaire. It may show that PR specialists are using AVE despite they being conscious of its disadvantages.1 Research technique is the use of this method by a discipline (example of a method is content analysis, and the technique used by PR ismedia content analysis). The research tool is be used to complete the research using a method (for example, a questionnaire is used tomake a survey). Page 2
  3. 3. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A report • Research results show, that the researched do not know standards of PR measurement, and – at the very least – treat them very casually. It is confirmed by a very big portion of the researched (18%), who consider the practice of setting expected number of pieces of press coverage is acceptable, even though Polish Code of Ethics for PR practitioners introduced by The Polish PR Association2 forbids it. • Public relations image, according to the research participants, is negative – nearly 60% of them say so. Asked for reasons, most often they singled out „the lack of the consciousness in the society” (63% of participants, who have chosen the „negative” option). Only 12% of participants, who have chosen the negative option, consider not using PR measurement as the cause of negative PR image, 7% - „lack of education what public relations are” and 7% - „small goods of public relations as the academic discipline”.Research methodologyThe research had to answer following questions: • Are public relations in Poland practiced according to one particular model (one of four Grunig’s and Hunt’s or the new one, named as the relational model by the author)? • Do the participants, who plan PR activities, measure PR activities more frequently than those, who do not have ready-made PR plan (strategy)? • How wide and varied is the extent of used research techniques? • Is education (specialization) of a PR specialist linked to his/her knowledge, how to conduct PR measurement? Are graduates of social sciences better methodologically prepared than graduates of PR or journalism and social communication? • Is using particular PR tools combined with positive opinion about chosen research techniques? Is the thesis on PR „mediocentrism” (which means identifying public relations most of all with media relations) confirmed by the research? • How deep is knowledge of PR measurement issues – standards, techniques and main barriers to conducting PR research? Does it show the lack of knowledge among PR specialists, or do they know this issue rather well? • Is the positive opinion on research methods and techniques combined with participant’s education in particular discipline? For example, has a sociologist the tendency to evaluate survey better, and a marketing specialist – to value the AVE? • How much does the practice of guaranteeing by PR specialists a defined number of press coverage in advance influence the result of PR activities? Are PR specialists conscious of the standard of PR measurement, which says estimation of press coverage quantity in advance is not possible (such estimation raises questions, if the coverage is paid).2 „Polish PR Association (PSPR) is a professional organization, devoted to assist its members with achieving high standards of conduct in thePR communication profession through exchange of practical experiences and best practices. In 1994 PSPR members working in PRagencies, PR practitioners in business and government institutions as well as other members from the academic world have created anetwork of mutually rewarding relationships. PSPR also deals with popularization and educational activities by initiating and organisingconferences and seminars, conducting trainings and workshops. In 1996 PSPR successfully introduced the first Polish Code of Ethics for PRpractitioners. Polish PR Association responds to the new requirements of the 21st century - openness and motivation for achievingcommon interests through personal development and career growth of its members” (information from the webpage Page 3
  4. 4. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A report • Is the negative image of PR field in Poland (if it is really negative) linked to small scientific achievements of PR as a discipline or to the lack of convincing arguments about the real effects of PR work?Author of the research targeted the research at Polish PR specialists. There is no professionaldatabase in Poland, collecting data about PR specialists in Poland. For the purpose of survey, theauthor decided to address people subscribed to the mailing list - this is the only PolishInternet discussion list assembling people connected to the public relations industry. According todata of Foundation which is hosting the list, there were 2049 people subscribed to thelist on 30 January 2010 - but people constantly active on the list are probably only a small part ofthem. Due to the lack of available database containing detailed description of the subscribers to thelist, non-random sampling was used: it was assumed, that the participants of the survey will beeveryone who completes the questionnaire and research results will be submitted only to the groupof people involved in the study.The research was conducted by a survey method, using an online questionnaire. The questionnairecontained 14 questions and 11 demographic questions. Research questions were opinion questions,so that respondents could freely express their approach to measuring the effects of public relations.The author gave up on questions about facts - there were concerns that they could cause"interviewer effects" (respondents do not react in accordance with the present state of things butadapt to set the expectations of the investigator). The questions applied were questions aboutopinions. Assupmtion that respondents would be more honest if asked about their opinion aboutother people’s behaviour that when asked about their own behaviour directly.Before implementation, the survey questionnaire was pilot tested on 11 PR professionals - andtherefore people from this professional group to whom the survey was addressed. Their task was tospot errors in the tool design, as well as errors and ambiguities in the construction of questions. Theresults of the pilot were used to create the final version of the questionnaire. The questionnaire wasthen posted on the portal and made available through a special link forparticipants of the mailing list on 15 December 2009. Request for completing thesurvey was posted to the list again on January 13, 2010. The result of the study were104 completed questionnaires. After rejecting five of them, which included negative answer to thefiltering question about the need to measure PR results, the final analysis included 99 questionnaires.Because of the sampling method, results cannot be generalized to all Polish PR specialists, or eventhe population of users of the list; conducting such an examination only through theInternet would be difficult indeed.1. Detailed findings1.1. Public relations practice1.1.1 Preferred PR modelAt the beginning of the survey, respondents could choose several definitions of public relations,which for the author of the research corresponded to five models of public relations practice: thefour models of Grunig and Hunt [Grunig and Hunt, 1984] and the fifth, specified by the author of thestudy as a "relational model"3:3 There is no agreement, how many models there are. Some specialists consider to be only four PR models as in the Grunig’s and Hunt’stheory and the differentiation between communication and relationships makes no sense (as Dejan Vercic) and some experts (eg. DavidPhillips) consider relationships to be something more than communication so this is a new paradigm of PR activity. Page 4
  5. 5. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A report • "Public relations: any activity aimed at giving the greatest publicity to the promoted product, company or person" (this statement corresponds to the model of publicity / press agentry); • "Public relations: any activity aimed at promoting and / or protecting the company image or product" (a statement by Philip Kotler, the closest to the model of two-way asymmetrical); • „Public relations are conscious planned and ongoing effort to establish and maintain conscious, mutual understanding between an organization and its environment"( environment"(this statement - definition of PR adopted by the British Institute of Public Relations – is the nearest to the two-way symmetrical model); • "Public relations are information This information is fair and objective professional and information. objective, competent, complete, fast, media friendly, public opinion, ethical and responsible "(this is a definition of Piotr Czarnowski Polish PR expert, corresponding to the public information Czarnowski, model); • "Public relations is action designed to achieve the best business relationship with its environment" (a statement by Moi Ali, British PR expert, corresponding to the relational model).More than half of the respondents 56% - found the definition that points to understanding the respondents-essence of public relations activities and thus corresponded to two-way symmetrical model. One- activities,fifth of respondents - 19% - chose the definition associated with the "relational" model, 13% of relational"respondents chose the definition associated with the public information model, 7% - indicating thedefinition of PR as a source of publicity and 5% - indicated PR as promoting the image of the publicity,company.Figure 1 – With which PR practising model do you identify? N=99 Two-way symmetrical Relationships Public information Publicity/press agentry Two-way assymetrical Two 5% 7% 13% 56% 19%These results indicate, that the two two-way symmetrical model is the one most frequently practised by ostthe respondents. They also show the gradual spread of a new approach to PR called by the autor as ythe “relational” model - defining PR by the necessity of building lasting relationships withsurrounding groups. Other approaches to the practice of PR activity, however, are also present. This ,is consistent with the assumptions of Grunig and Hunt, who stated that the development of publicrelations describes the dominant model at any given time and space, but all other ways (models) ofpracticing PR may coexist at a given time in the same area. anna-miotk/ Page 5
  6. 6. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A report1.1.2 Need of creating the PR strategyThe vast majority of respondents - 96% - believe that planning in public relations in the form ofdeveloping PR strategy is necessary. Only 3% believe that it is not, while 1% have no opinion on this thattopic.Figure 2 – Is planning in PR is necessary or is not necessary? N=99 3% 1% Planning is necessary Planning is not necessary I have no opinion 96%This would indicate the fact that respondents are conscious and familiar with the basic principles ofpublic relations, such as the need to create an action plan before the start of regular PR hecommunications. If people who took part in the survey have been yet convinced to the need for PRmeasurement (or at least are undecided in this matter), then it can be supposed, that PR specia specialistswho plan PR activities, may be more inclined to the PR measurement than companies who do nothave ready communication activity plan. But this would require confirmation in more detailedstudies.1.1.3 Applied PR toolsRespondents were asked about all public relations tools which are used by them. In this questionrespondents could choose all the answers, which apply. As it turns out - 91% of respondents ((almostall) use media relations. The second most popular tool is Internet PR, which is used by 84% of ,respondents. 75% of respondents also use special events. The most rare indications wererelationships with authorities (28% of respondents) and sponsorship (45% of respondents 2% of 28% respondents).respondents used the possibility to give their own answers in the option “other” – they indicated tiontrainings (1%), and audits and research (1%) as PR tools. anna-miotk/ Page 6
  7. 7. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A reportFigure 3 – Applied PR tools, N=99 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%These results indicate that even in the group, public relations may be associated mainly withrelations with the media - it is called “mediocentric” attitude to public relations, which may thenaffect identifying PR measurement only with the media content analysis. This could be confirmed inthe answers to the question which of the techniques for measuring the respondents considerproviding the most accurate information, if only the vast majority of indications indicated mediacontent analysis.1.1.4 Opinions on research use in PRRespondents were also asked to determine whether the use of research is sufficient or not sufficientin the four stages of the process of public relations: initial analysis, development of PR strategy,implementation and evaluation of the effectiveness of PR. The largest group of respondents - nearly90%, indicated that the use of research is not sufficient in assessing the effectiveness of PR, then - inthe initial analysis (nearly 70%), in the creation of PR strategy (60%) and during the implementationof PR activities (less than 50%) .Figure 4 – Is in your opinion use of research in PR by Polish practicioners sufficient or it is not sufficient?N=99 PR evaluation PR activities realization PR strategy creation Initial analysis 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% PR strategy PR activities Initial analysis PR evaluation creation realization Is sufficient 19% 25% 29% 12% Is not sufficient 67% 56% 50% 76% I have no opinion 14% 19% 21% 12% Page 7
  8. 8. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A reportSummarizing, the respondents tended to the view that the use of research is rather insufficient thansufficient, with the greatest shortage experienced where, according to the theory of PR (modelsRACE, ROSIE, and other, which define the process of public relations), research primarily should be ,applied, or at the beginning and end of the process.1.2 Opinions on PR measurement1.2.1 Need to measure PRQuestionnaires to undergo the analysis were chosen based on the two filtering questions on need tomeasure PR. Further analysis was done only for those questionnaires, in which respondents opted forthe fact that PR measurement is necessary or had no opinion about it. People, who have chosen the necessary,option that PR measurement is not necessary (or have indicated similar answer in the next questionabout PR measurement frequency which also acted as a filter), at this point finished questionnaire frequency,and their responses were not included in further analysis. Such cases were 5, suggesting that, the ,main subject of the research, "Opinions of Polish specialists on PR measurement PR", was already astrong criterion for selection of respondents - those uninterested in the measurement of PR just didnot respond to requests for participation in the survey. The vast majority of people involved in thestudy - 97% - claimed that PR measurement is necessary, and only 3% had no opinion on the subject.Figure 5 – Need to measure PR, N=99 3% PR measurement is necessary I have no opinion 97%1.2.2 Preferred frequency to measure PRAnother question concerned the preferred frequency of measuring the effects of PR. The majority(66%) of respondents replied "you should measure the effects of PR in each case after closing of a yoularger project," while 34% of respondents chose the option " the effectiveness of PR activities shouldbe measured up-to-date - for example in the form of periodic (weekly, monthly, etc.) summaries”. weekly,Those who stated that "measure the effects of PR is not needed, there is no point it regularly”, measurefinished the questionnaire at the point and their results were not included in further analysis – it wasalso the filtering question, which would cause negative selection of people unfavorably oriented to ,the topic of the study. anna-miotk/ Page 8
  9. 9. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A reportFigure 6 – When should PR measurement be performed N=99 performed? 34% Up-to-date After the closing of a bigger project 66%1.2.3 Choosing the method of PR measurementRespondents were also asked to indicate which premises should guide the selection of methods forassessing the effectiveness of public relations. The largest percentage of respondents - nearly 65% -chose the “reliability of the method”, then slightly less than 60% pointed to "a kind of feedback he topossible after the campaign", then after about 40% - at "the possibility of obtaining the result,expressed numerically," and "type of PR tool to be evaluated". 27% of respondents mentioned the merically,""possibility of applying the method on their own" and over 10% - to "time savings" and "low cost". e2% of respondents chose to add the option "other", pointing here to "the existence of new tools"and "link with previous research." ch."Figure 7 – What premises should be present when choosing the method of PR measurement? N=99 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%This shows, that respondents must be convinced as to the method itself and trust to it to be able touse it. They are also guided by the type of information, which due to specified method, can be ,obtained after performing of a public relations campaign. The savings - whether time or cost - seemin light of the answer to this question to not have meaning for them. anna-miotk/ Page 9
  10. 10. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A report1.2.4 Opinion on PR measurement methods and techniquesRespondents also pointed to the measurement technique or method, which they believe provide themost accurate information. The highest percentage of respondents - nearly 70% - pointed to mediacontent analysis, then 60% of respondents chose survey. The next four - observation, readership andaudience data, focused group interview, and return on investment (ROI) were identified byapproximately 30-40% of the respondents. Over 20% of respondents chose advertising valueequivalency (AVE) and sales data analysis. 3% of responses indicated “other” - the respondentspointed out "image research", "the matrix of image objectives" and "indicators of social capital andrelationships." Not one respondent indicated the individual in-depth interviews as research method.Figure 8 – Which techniques and methods do you regard as giving the most exact information? N=99 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%This responses’structure is consistent with the trends observed by the author of the report onforeign markets – “mediocentric” treating of PR (which automatically favours media content analysis)and focuses on quantitative research (a trend associated with greater use of qualitative research inPR has been not penetrated too far into the PR in Poland yet).Respondents were not asked about which techniques and methods they use in their everydaypractice, due to the fact that this could lead to giving false answers. But opinion on the methods thatthey consider to provide the most accurate information can also be seen as a loose indication of theuse of these methods in practice.It should be mentioned here that the original version of the questionnaire, even before the pilotsurvey, included questions with answers about 23 research techniques, known to the author fromvarious sources. After suggestions from PR professionals, who were taking part in the pilot survey,the number of techniques was limited to nine methods (of which one method was not indicated atall) and the answers for the "other" category have been made in only three cases. This means thatthe range of measurement methods and techniques known and available to Polish PR specialist israther small.Interesting information can be noticed, when opinions on the research methods and techniques arecombined with the specialization graduated by respondents. Survey as the most accurate source ofinformation was recognized by graduates of economics – it was pointed by 61% of people who havestudied this specialization, but only by 27% of sociology graduates. Observation is most appreciatedby the graduates of journalism and political science (67%) and least by the graduates of Polishphilology (15%). Focus group interview is most trusted by political science graduates (67%)and leastby those who have graduated marketing (28%). The advertising value equivalency (AVE) is the mostvalued by the graduates in political science (40%), least by business graduates (0%), and also bymarketing (7%) and sociology (9%) graduates. The value of return on investment as the mostconclusive method is appreciated by the graduates in political science (46%), least - by the graduates Page 10
  11. 11. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A reportof public relations (19%). Media content analysis is popular in all groups studied, reaching over 60%of responses in each group, the percentage indicated is lowest among graduates of Polish philology(61%) and the highest - in the group of sociologists (91%). Data on readership, listenership,viewership, etc. enjoy the best reputation in the group of journalism graduates (65%), while it islowest among the graduates of Polish philology (15%). Analysis of sales is rarely mentioned bypolitical science graduates (13%), and the most frequent by graduates of public relations (100% ofrespondents).Figure 9 – Methods and techniques of PR measurement claimed as giving the most exact information andspecialization graduated by respondents, N=120 Focus Media Graduates group content Readership Sales total Survey Observation interview AVE ROI analysis data data Other Economy, business, management 18 61% 50% 33% 0% 22% 67% 33% 17% 11% Public relations 16 44% 25% 25% 13% 19% 75% 44% 100% 0% Journalism 16 44% 65% 44% 22% 31% 69% 65% 22% 0% International relations, political sciences 15 53% 67% 67% 40% 47% 80% 27% 13% 0% Marketing 14 36% 57% 29% 7% 21% 86% 50% 14% 0% Polish philology 13 55% 15% 31% 15% 38% 62% 15% 31% 0% Sociology 11 27% 45% 45% 9% 36% 91% 36% 27% 9% Law 4 50% 75% 25% 25% 50% 100% 25% 0% 0% Other social sciences 5 80% 40% 40% 40% 20% 40% 60% 40% 0% Other sciences 5 20% 80% 40% 20% 40% 100% 60% 20% 0% Other arts 3 33% 67% 33% 33% 0% 67% 33% 0% 0%These results show that the assumed relationship between preference for methodologicaltechniques related to a given discipline and the fact of studying this discipline, does not take place.For example, measures taken from marketing or business, such as advertising value equivalency orreturn on investment, are not considered to be the most accurate source of information bygraduates in business and marketing. Graduates in public relations are aware that the ultimateeffect of PR is to change sales results and all of them indicate, that sales data have to be justanalyzed, and not necessarily advertising value equivalency or return on investment. The sociologiststrust most in media content analysis, while they are at least two times less likely to indicatethe other methods (and especially surveys).1.2.5 Acceptance of unfair practices relating to the effects of PR in contractsRespondents were also asked to express an opinion on the practice prohibited by section 10 of theCode of Ethics of the Polish Association of Public Relations: "PR consultant may not agree anycontracts, in which he would guarantee to achieve a result which depends on the autonomousdecisions of other entities, such as editors, public institutions, etc., and his salary can not be madeconditional on achieving such results"4. Unfortunately, in reality, there are situations in which apotential customer expects from PR agencies to provide a number of publications in the media andthe agency agrees to the request - the author of the report has witnessed such a situation herself.4 Polish Code of Ethics for PR practitioners, Page 11
  12. 12. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A reportAs can be seen from the responses this practice is considered acceptable by quite a large percentage responses,of respondents - up to 18% and 4% of respondents did not have a opinion.Figure 10 - There are situations in which companies expect from the agencies taking part in the tender todetermine the number of press publications that will be achieved as a result of the actions. Do you think thatthe practice of administering a specific number of press publications is permissible or not permissible N=99 permissible? 4% 18% The practice is not permissible The practice is persmissible I have no opinion 78%Such a large consensus on this practice may be due to poor awareness of the standards promoted byPSPR - that the association currently has only 200 members, while the InternetPR. main discussion InternetPR.pllist gathers over 10 times more people, who identify with the industry. It is also another premiseconfirming the lack of knowledge of PR professionals in PR measurement and in standards. Such agroup of respondents, strongly convinced about the neet to measure PR, should contain a much glysmaller portion of those who are giving the number of pieces of press coverage to be achieved. Thesecond explanation of such a phenomenon is that the respondents know the standards, but bre breakthem in a conscious way.1.2.6 Opinion on media content analysisRespondents were asked about their detailed opinions on the two research techniques used in PR:media content analysis and advertising value equivalency. Question on content analysis included anumber of ready-made statements with an open question, "other”, where respondents could also statements, spondentscomplete the ready list of answers answers about their own observations. However, only one answercould be chosen. Most - 38% of respondents - also came to the conclusion that media content %analysis is "a good method if it is conducted reliably". Twice fewer respondents - 20% - indicated thatthis method "measures only the quality of information materials provided to journalists and 16% - journalists"that "allows to check how the company is perceived by journalists" and "does not allow for finding doesout what the clients think about the company". 7% of respondents also came to the conclusion that"it is the best way to evaluate the effects of PR activities - if something appeared in the media, it ppearedmeans that PR activities were effective 3% of respondents used the option to provide their own effective”.answer adding such statements as: "it allows both to check the quality of press materials andestimates the reaction of the target gro groups", "it gives information about the opinions of journalistsand to measure PR" and "it is useless in the Internet age, because of copying of press releases releases".These results indicate that the awareness of media content analysis as a method of evaluating theeffects of PR, is diverse. Some of the respondents are aware of its flaws (lack of information on the lackreaction of the target groups, limiting the measurement to the quality of materials delivered to ,journalists or reaction of journalists some focus on the advantages (good, if done honestly, the best journalists),method - if the media wrote about PR activities, they were successful). Some respondents mention anna-miotk/ Page 12
  13. 13. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A reportinformation which cannot be obtained using this method (you cannot estimate the response oftarget groups), argue, that this method allows PR measurement (as if other methods do not allow),or that it is useless in the Internet age, when copying press releases is abused. However, theexperience of the author shows that not all journalists do so - journalists of the media considered asmore influential and highly prestigious redraft PR materials or use them on the occasion of thepreparation of larger, overview materials in which they try to present trends in the whole industryand highlight the problems from many different points of view. So varied and ambiguous opinionsamong respondents on the most popular method also argue for very limited methodologicalknowledge of the respondents.Figure 11 – With which of the following statements about media content analysis can you identyfy the most?N=99 Content media analysis... good method if it is conducted reliably 38% measures only the quality of information materials provided to journalists 20% allows checking how the company is perceived by journalists 16% does not give information about clients’ opinions 7% it is the best method of PR measurement 1% allows to check quality of press coverage and estimate the reaction of target groups 1% gives information about journalists’ opinion and allows to measure PR 1% useless in the Internet age (copying and pasting information) 1%1.2.7 Opinions on advertising value equivalencyAnother technique about which study participants were asked in more details, was the advertisingvalue equivalency (AVE). Views on the equivalent of advertising, however, were much less diversethan in the case of media content analysis of press: 62% of respondents felt that "this technique isnot reliable - advertising and PR are not the same, so they cannot be measured by one measure ",35% - that “it allows the PR specialist to easily provide to the Board (or customers) the value of PRwork done”. Below 3% of the respondents formed their own opinion: "shows the value of PR work,but it is not reliable" combining the two answers in one. Probably these are the people who areaware that the methodological value of this technique is none, however, they were in situation inwhich presenting financial results to a board allowed them to better convince about the value of PRwork they were performing. But what is interesting is that none of the respondents chose the option"equivalent advertising allows the PR specialist to prove to the Board (the customer) how muchmoney is saved through PR activities". This could indicate that respondents do not agree with theview that public relations are more economical version of advertising, which is suggested by thisanswer. Page 13
  14. 14. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A reportFigure 12 - Which of the following statements about the advertising value equivalency - estimating the valueof the surface of articles in the media resulting from the activities of PR, based on the value of similar nadvertising space - suits your beliefs N=99 beliefs? 3% 35% AVE is not reliable AVE shows the value of PR work done AVE shows the value of PR work done, but is not reliable 62%1.2.8 Obstacles to PR measurementRespondents, when asked about the obstacles to measuring the effects of PR pointed to in order: ,"ignorance, how to measure PR" (less than 60% of respondents), "no budget" (40% "high costs", " (40%),"uncertainty about the usefulness of measuring the effects of PR," lack of personnel "and" lack oftime "(less than 30%). The next reasons were: "Research must be carried out in accordance with therigors of science, its design and implementation is difficult" (20%) and "fear of the criticism of PRactivities, to which PR measurement can lead" (15%). 7% of respondents shared the view that "itmakes no sense to realize complex research, good observation and intuition are enough” while 2% ealize enough”,used the option “other - what "and identified "lack of support from superiors ", and “difficulty inseparating the effects of PR on the effects of other communication activities".Distribution of answers to this question is an addition to information obtained in the question ofmotivation for the selection of methods methods/techniques for measuring PR. There, respondents rarelymentioned the cost and time associated with the use of the method. Here, they say cost and time areone of measuring barriers, which suggests that they are important factors for them that, them.Figure 13 – What do you think might be the most important obstacle to the PR measurement? N=99 (remark:values sum up to more than 100% – the researched could choose more than one answer) Obstacles to PR measurement Ignorance how to measure PR 59% No budżet 39% High costs 28% Uncertainty about usefulness 28% Lack of personel 27% Lack of time 26% Difficulty in research condu conducting 20% Fear of criticism 17% Intuition and observation are enough 6% Lack of support from superiors 1% Difficulty in separating the effects of PR 1% anna-miotk/ Page 14
  15. 15. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A reportThe author assumed, that the lack of knowledge on methods of PR measurement is associated withignorance of the methods and research techniques of social science that can be used in PR, butverifying what percentage of graduates of specified specialization pointed to this problem showed problem,that the graduates of sociology (where methodology of social sciences is one of the largest courses in sciencesthe curriculum) have the biggest problem with PR measurement - nearly 82% of them admitted totheir lack of knowledge about it. Another large group were graduates of specializations described as .other (sciences: physics, mathematics, quantitative methods and information systems and physicaleducation and tourism) - the percentage here was similar and it amounted to 80% The smallest 80%.proportion of people admitting to ignorance in measuring the effects of PR, was among thegraduates of public relations and it amounted to 43%. Maybe it can be derived from the fact thatpublic relations students are acquainted with the typical methods of measuring the effects of PR andthus have more realistic expectations for the measurement of PR than graduates of other disciplines.Figure 14 – Specialization graduated and lack of knowledge as declared barrier of PR measurement N=120 measurement, Other Political Polish social Sociology PR sciences Marketing Economy Journalism Law philology sciences Other arts OtherGraduates total 11 16 15 14 18 16 4 13 5 3 5Lack ofknowledge asthe reason of notmeasuring 82% 43% 53% 50% 61% 56% 50% 69% 60% 67% 80%1.2.9. The image of PR industry in PolandThe last part of the study concerned the image of the public relations industry in Poland. The authorassumed it is negative, seeing as the reasons the low maturity of public relations as a scientificdiscipline, and inability to measure the effects of activities. The study showed that almost 70% of theparticipants are convinced of a negative image of the PR industry, only nearly 30% consider it to be imageneutral, and 3% had no opinion. No one considered the image to be positive.Figure 15 – Which is the image of PR industry in Poland in your opinion N=99 opinion? 3% 28% PR image is negative PR image is neutral I have no opinion 69%As the cause of the negative image of PR in the first place was listed "lack of awareness in the Polishsociety" (63%). Only 12% of responses pointed to "public relations professionals can not accuratelydetermine what is the result of actions undertaken by them”, and 7% -"lack of education campaignsabout PR conducted by the PR industry” and "small achievements public relations as a scientificdiscipline with its own theories and research supporting the validity of those theories 3% of theories".responses pointed to "the ignorance of journalists", "lack of professionalism PR professionals and gnorance professionals""unethical behavior of PR professionals 2% of responses pointed to the "identification of PR with professionals". identification anna-miotk/ Page 15
  16. 16. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A reportpropaganda”. Nobody chose the answer "no generally accepted industry definition of what publicrelations are".Figure 16 - What factors might influence the PR industrys negative image in the eyes of the public? N=68(Remark: people who chose the answer PR has negative image were asked for reasons, why) Reasons for negative image of PR in Poland Lack of awareness in the Polish society 63% Public relations professionals can not accurately determine what is the result of actions undertaken by them 12% Lack of education campaigns about PR conducted by the PR industry 7% Small achievements of public relations as a scientific discipline with its own theories and research supporting the validity of those theories 7% The ignorance of journalists 3% Lack of professionalism of PR professionals 3% Unethical behavior of PR professionals 3% Identification of PR with propaganda 2%This would indicate that the decisive influence on the negative image of the PR industry is lack ofknowledge among the society what PR is and what PR is not. The problem with measuring the effectsof PR and short PR development as a scientific discipline are factors that are referred to only in thesecond and fourth place.2. Participants of the surveyParticipants of the survey were described in terms of several parameters: sex, education, and studieddisciplines, working in PR, experience in PR and (or) in other professions, and current professionalsituation. Some information concerned organizations for which they were currently working.2.1 Characteristics of the participants of the survey2.1.1 SexOf 99 respondents 61 (62%) were women and 38 (38%) were men. This is consistent with existingresearch on public relations in Poland and abroad, which shows that this sector is highly feminized.Figure 17 – Sex, N=99 Sex Female 62% Male 38%2.1.2 Education and specialization studiedThe overwhelming majority of respondents are people with higher education - as many as 90 people(91%), 9 people (9%) have only completed secondary education. Page 16
  17. 17. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A reportFigure 18 – Education of the participants, N=99 Education Higher 91% Secondary 9%A wide variety of specializations studied can be observed. Most popular among respondents are inorder: economics or business or management (18 people), journalism (16), PR (16), internationalrelations or political science (15), marketing (14), Polish philology (13) and sociology (11). List ofspecializations, which were most often studied by the participants of the survey, is presented inFigure 3.Figure 19 – Specializations studied by the participants, N=120 Specialization economics, business or management 15% Public relations 13% Journalism and social communication 13% International relations or political science 13% Marketing 12% Polish philology 11% Sociology 9% Law 3% Pedagogic 2% History 2% Philosophy 1% Psychology 1% Social inclusion 1% Physics 1% Mathematics 1% Quantitative methods and information systems 1% Tourism 1% Physical education 1% Other (not stated) 1%Such a large number of disciplines studied (120), compared to the number of respondents (99) has itsown explanation. It happened often that a person declared the completion of two or morespecializations - poll did not make, however, the detailed distinctions between the levels of study,because such a large amount of research data was not necessary for completing the researchobjectives. Therefore, the result may derived from several phenomena: first - the spread of modelstudies in the form of undergraduate and masters-up (the person often is studying two differentfaculties), second - with the huge popularity of studying two faculties simultaneously, third - with thepopularity of postgraduate and doctoral studies (some people have indicated completingthis type ofstudies or are in their course). Fourthly and finally - with the classification guidelines adopted for the Page 17
  18. 18. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A reportpurposes of research - it stemmed from a desire to trace the relationship between the studieddiscipline and approach to the measurement of PR, in analogy to the relationship between themethodology of public relations and other related disciplines: sociology, psychology, communicationsciences, marketing and management. And so, marketing and management was also grouped intoboth "marketing"and "management", while politics-related specializations, such as political science,diplomacy and international relations were assigned to one and the same category.The result shows in any case, that public relations are a relatively young business with little practicaltheoretical output, and also as a relatively young industry, profession, are open profession.Experience is what counts, completed course of study much less so. This is shown by the variety ofspecializations completed by the respondents.2.1.3 PR work experienceWhen considering respondents’ work experience in PR, it can be noted that 7 of them have workedin the profession for less than a year. In subsequent intervals there is steadily growing number ofrespondents: 1-2 years of work experience has 12 people, 3-4 years - 23 people, 5-6 years – 26people. In next intervals the number of respondents is gradually decreasing, fluctuating between 3and 7 people for the next intervals, including professional experience in PR longer than 7 years.Such a distribution of professional experience among respondents - visible majority of people withwork experience less than 7 years - may result from several factors. Firstly, the development of thepractice of PR as a discipline - in the past few years, the number of companies, which have theirpublic relations departments and firms providing public relations services, has risen. And, secondly-with the specificity of the mailing list, which was founded in 2003, when the currentholders of 5-6 years professional experience, were coming into the labor market and welcomed theemergence of a new tool that facilitates discussion of industry with the greatest enthusiasm. It maybe related to more eager usage of the Internet tools by people with shorter work experience, whichare also usually younger (but this is an assumption, because respondents were not asked about theirage).Figure 20 – PR work experience, N=99 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% less 1-2 3-4 5-6 7-8 9-10 11-12 13-14 15 years than years years years years years years years and year more Page 18
  19. 19. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A report2.1.4 Work experience in PR and in other professions .1.4The low barriers to entry in the PR business are confirmed by the fact, that 75% of respondents have %experience in PR and in other professions and 4% - only in other occupations. Just over one fifth of professions,respondents (21%) reported that they had worked so far only in public relations.Figure 21 – Work experience in PR and in other professions, N=99 21% 4% PR and other professions PR only Other professions 75%Among other professions, which were most frequently mentioned by the participants of the survey,was the marketing profession (mentioned by 24 people), then journalism (22 people education - mentioned people),work at university, in education or training as a coach running (16 people). Less frequently pointed swere advertising (7 people), management (6 people), sales (6 people), law and administration (5people) and finance and banking (3 people). The category “other” included single indications fortransport, non-governmental organizations consulting, translation, European funds, human governmental organizations, ,resources management, market research and economic analysis.Figure 22 – Experience in other professions, N=79 Profession Marketing 25% Journalism 23% Education 17% Advertising 7% Management 6% Sales 6% Law and administration 5% Finance and banking 3% Other 8%2.1.5 Current employment situationMost respondents - 68 (or 69%) are employed on the basis of various forms of contracts (a contractof employment or different types of contract work), 27 people (27%) self-employed as single-person employedbusiness or heads a company, and 4 people (4%) declared they do not work. , anna-miotk/ Page 19
  20. 20. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A reportFigure 23 – Current employment situation, N=99 Current employment situation working (contract) 69% self-employed 27% not working 4%2.2. Respondents’ workplaceRespondents who declared that they are employed or run their own business, were asked to providesome additional information about their jobs. This part of the survey was answered by 95respondents - so all the data in this section refer to this group of people.2.2.1 Employment in the organizationAs it comes from the replies, most people are employed in companies ranging in size from 1 to 6people (here also single-person business are included) - as many as 24 respondents, followed bycompanies employing between 7 and 12 people - 19 respondents. 11 respondents work in companiesemploying from 25 to 49 persons and companies employing 150-199 people and companiesemploying over 250 people. 7 respondents work in companies employing 13-24 people. The leastnumerous groups of respondents work in companies with 100-149 people (2 people), and 150-199people (1 person).Figure 24 – Employment in the respondent’s organization, N=95 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0%2.2.2 Type of organizationAnother information, which was provided by the respondents, was the type of organization for whichthey work for. 47 respondents (50%) works in PR, marketing or advertising agencies, 34 people (36%)in enterprises, 6 respondents (6%) are employed at universities, 5 (5%) - at public institutions and 3(3% ) in NGOs. Such a distribution of answers can explain why the companies, for which theparticipants of the survey work, are rather small ones. Polish PR, marketing or advertising agencies inmost cases are small businesses employing no more than 50 people. Page 20
  21. 21. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A reportFigure 25 – Type of organization, N=95 Type of organization PR/marketing/advertising agency 50% enterprise 36% high school 6% public institution 5% non-governmental organization 3%2.2.3 Respondent’s position in the organizationMost of the people who responded to the question about their position in the organization work as aspecialist (33 people, 35%) or a manager (32 people, 34%). 19 people (20%) belong to seniormanagement, while only 9 (9%) work as a director. The smallest group of respondents were interns -2 persons (2%).Figure 26 – Respondent’s position, N=95 Position Specialist 35% Manager 34% President/member of the management 20% Director 10% Intern 2%2.2.4 Organization’s legal form48% of respondents are employed at a company with limited liability. Another popular form is a legalsingle-person business , reported by 22% of respondents. 11% of respondents are employed by stateentities - state-owned enterprises, administration and public schools. 10% of respondents work atpublic limited companies, 6% at civilian companies, and 1% at associations or general partnerships orlimited joint-stock company.Figure 27 - Organiztion’s legal form, N=95 Organization’s legal form company with a limited liability 48% one-man business 22% state entities 11% public limited company 10% civilian company 6% general partnership company 1% limited joint-stock 1% association 1%2.2.5 LocalizationRespondents could also specify the zip code of their organization. It was then used to identify theprovince (in Poland called voivodeship), where the organization is located. 37 people (39%) did notgive the code organization, saying that they do not know it. For those who have given the code, itwas found that the largest number of respondents work at companies located in Masovian Page 21
  22. 22. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A reportVoivodeship - as many as 36 people (38%). 5 (6%) are employed by companies in Lower SilesianVoivodeship, 4 (4%) people - in Greater Poland V Voivodeship and 3 (3%) people - in Lodz, Pomeranian,Silesian, 2 people (2%) – in Lesser Poland 1 (1 %) - in Subcarpathian Voivodeship and Warmian Poland, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship. Taking into consideration, that most of the companies, for which the .respondents work, are PR, marketing or advertising agencies it confirms the observation from other agencies,countries, that public relations industry is concentrated in one, usually the largest, urban center - inPoland it is Warsaw located in Masovian Voivodeship At the same time there are some, albeit Voivodeship.weaker centers in other cities (Wroclaw, Krakow, Lodz, Trojmiasto and the Silesian agglomerations Wroclaw, agglomerations).Figure 28 – Localization of the organization, N=95 Voivodeship Masovian 38% Lower Silesian 5% Greater Poland 4% Lodz 3% Pomeranian 3% Silesian 3% Lesser Poland 2% Subcarpathian 1% Warmian-Masurian 1% no data 39%2.2.6 Organization’s annual turnoverRespondents who gave an annual turnover of their organizations, in most cases declared that theircompany has an annual turnover of less than 1 million PLN (Polish zlotys). Another large group ofpeople were those from organizations, whose turnover amounted to 1-10 million PLN. In followingintervals the number of respondents was successively declining: between 11 to 30 an annualturnover of PLN - 18 respondents 31-50 million PLN – 5 respondents, and 51-100 PLN million - 3 respondents, 100respondents. The last group of companies with annual turnover exceeding 100 million PLN, companies,employed as many as 14 respondents The possibility of not answering the question (in form of "hard say") has been used by as many as 30 people.Figure 29 – Organization’s annual turnover, N=95 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% less than 1-10 mln 11 11-30 31-50 51-100 over 100 hard to 1 mln PLN mln PLN mln PLN mln PLN mln PLN say PLN anna-miotk/ Page 22
  23. 23. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A reportConclusionsResearch results confirm some assumptions about the Polish market of public relations, made by theauthor. The assumption about the “mediocentric” nature of public relations has been confirmed(91% of respondents used media relations as PR tool) and the associated dominance of contentanalysis of media messages as the main research technique (70% of respondents think that is methodproviding most accurate information).The respondents do not have detailed knowledge of the methods and techniques for measuring PR.It was visible in the pilot study, when it was found out that PR professionals who took part in it, didnot know most of the methods and techniques of research, proposed by the author in the initialversion of the reponse ready list of answers in the question about the methods and techniques.Several people also recommended, to reduce the ready list of answers to the most popular methods.The lack of knowledge of research methodology in PR is also indicated by the fact that the mostfrequently mentioned obstacle to conducting the measurement of PR, was the "ignorance, how tomeasure the effects of PR" (answer chosen by nearly 60% of respondents).Individuals participating in this study could also not clearly assess the content analysis. Distribution ofanswers to this question was very varied and the “other” category was chosen more often than inother questions. There were also conflicting opinions: although 16% of respondents chose the readyanswer: "content analysis does not allow to find out, what the customers think about the company”,one of the respondents in the category" other " replied: "content analysis allows both to check thequality of press materials and to estimate the reaction of the target groups”. The latter is obviouslynot compatible with methodological knowledge - one of the weaknesses of content analysis used inPR measurement is the inability to estimate the response of the target groups.Research results also show, that respondents do not know the standards of measuring the effects ofPR or at least – treat them quite freely. It is evidenced by the large percentage of respondents (up to18%) who believe that the practice of giving the expected number of publications in the media by aPR specialist is allowed (although the PSPR Code of Ethics prohibits this practice). At the same time,results showed that respondents are aware of the necessity of planning in public relations and alsorecognize the need for research at the various stages of PR on a broader scale, than ever before.All of the trends above are consistent with the results of previous studies conductedon foreign markets: the identification of media relations with public relations, media content analysisas the primary method of research, lack of knowledge of research methodology but awareness of theneed for greater use of research in public relations (especially at the level of evalauation of PRcampaign/program).Just as in foreign markets, in Poland simultaneous coexistence of several approaches to doing publicrelations (models) can be observed, with the greatest emphasis on the two-way symmetrical model(56% of respondents have identified with this model) and the gradual uptake of the model specifiedby the author of the report as "relational" (this model as the most adequate, has been chosen by19% of respondents). This is, however, not reflected in the broader use of research (or more frequentuse of particular methods). Although participants of the study definied their PR activity ascorresponding to two-way symmetrical or “relational”, they are still methodically in the modelof"press agentry/publicity”.Research results did not show association between graduated specialization and knowledge on PRmeasurement. Checking what percentage of graduates from specified specialization pointed out"ignorance, how to measure the effects of PR" as an obstacle to the measurement, gave a startlingresult. This response was chosen by as many as 82% of graduates in sociology (the specialization, inwhich curriculum methodology of social sciences is one of the most important parts) and only 43% ofthe graduates of public relations. The study also showed no relation between the specialization andopinion about the various techniques for measuring PR. Graduates of business and marketing do not Page 23
  24. 24. Anna Miotk: Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement. A reportthink that the most accurate source of information are methods deriving from marketing ormanagement. Sociologists place their highest confidence in media content analysis, and are at leasttwo times less likely to suggest other methods (especially survey research) as it. PR graduates areaware that a change in sales may be the effect of PR and usually indicate a need to analyze salesdata.The assumption about linkage between negative image of Polish public relations and the lack of PRdevelopment as a scientific discipline, has been not confirmed. The image of PR in Poland accordingto the respondents is negative, but this is due to "lack of awareness in the society" (this answer waschosen by 63% of people responding to this question). Only 12% of people claiming that PR image isnegative, see the absence of PR measurement as the cause, and over 7% - lack of education in theindustry what PR is and small achievements of PR as a scientific discipline.This research is a part of Anna Miotk’s doctoral dissertation titled „Methods of PR evaluation andmeasurement used in Poland”, which was defended on December, the 8th, 2010 at Faculty ofJournalism and Political Science, University of Warsaw. The Ph.D. supervisor: prof. UW Jerzy Olędzki,Ph.D.REFERENCES: 1. Grunig J. E., Hunt T., „Managing public relations“, Thomson-Wadsworth, Belmont, 1984 2. Watson T., Noble P., „Evaluating Public Relations: A Best Practice Guide to Public Relations Planning, Research and Evaluation”, Kogan Page Publishers, London 2007 3. Philips D., „Towards relationship management. Public relations at the core of organizational development”, lecture held at The Alan Rawel CIPR Academic Conference in 2005 4. Verčič D. (red.), „On the definition of public relations: a European view”, „Public Relations Review” 27(2001)THE AUTHOR OF THE REPORT – ANNA MIOTK, Ph.D. Director of Business Development for Internet Monitoring Department, is responsible for NewsPoint Internet monitoring solutions and for preparation of media reports and analyses. Six years of experience in public relations - has worked for the renowned Polish and network PR agencies on projects for clients from the IT, FMCG and healthcare industries. Ph.D., in December 2010 at the Faculty of Journalism and Political Science at University of Warsaw defended her doctoral thesis "Methods of assessing and measuring the results of public relations activities used in Poland”. Earlier M.A. in sociology at University of Gdansk. Teaches at Postgraduate Studies in Public Relations at Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities Department in Sopot, provide training concerning Internet communication and research in public relations. Her training skills are cerfitied by the House of Skills Training School cerfiticate. Author of numerous publications in industry media and a blog on research in PR in Polish. Contact: anna.miotk@gmail.com Page 24