Public Relations Measurement Goes Mainstream — PRSA
Public Relations Measurement Goes Mainstream Rosanna M. Fiske, APR PRSA Chair and CEO North American Summit on Public Relations Measurement Sept. 18, 2011Hello, everyone, and welcome to the ninth-annual North American Summit on Public RelationsMeasurement. I come before you today as the chair and CEO of the Public Relations Society ofAmerica, an organization that is not only co-sponsoring this summit, but is deeply engaged inthe global discussions and initiatives concerning public relations measurement.I want to first thank IPR President and CEO Frank Ovaiit for inviting me to provide someopening remarks for this year’s summit. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to be with all ofyou today, discussing a subject near and dear to my heart and to the mission of PRSA.Over the past nine years, this Summit has been the leading voice for discussion and revelationin the burgeoning area of public relations measurement. When it began in 2003, measurementwas on the minds of many, but still not at the forefront of our profession’s core focus. How timeshave changed!Fast forward to 2011, and we’re a year removed from the groundbreaking Barcelona Principlesand just a few months past the Lisbon Summit. Both of which set the stage for objective globalmeasurement standards that I know many of you have argued for many years.I’m here to tell you that your work did not go unnoticed. Those of us who work in publicrelations, who make our living in this business, who care deeply about its role and value,particularly to the business community, owe you a sincere debt of gratitude. For without yourimportant work in an area that all too often does not get as much attention as it deserves, thepublic relations profession would not be realizing the significant and growing value that it hastoday.And it’s not just those of us who work in the profession that are taking notice. Case in point:Over the summer, I was thrilled when The Wall Street Journal’s “Numbers Guy” devoted hisregular WSJ Weekend column to the subject of public relations measurement. I’m sure many ofyou read the article, but I wanted to reflect on a point made by an Australian PR executive thatsummed up just how far we’ve come, yet the significant work that remains.Wall Street Journal reporter Carl Bialik relays a story of how longtime Australian publicist MaxMarkson told a reporter, when asked about the monetary value of a photo he sold of theinfamous kissing couple in the Vancouver riots, he told reporters that the image was worth 10
million Australian dollars, a number he apparently “pulled out of thin air because the reporterwas on deadline.”So, it’s good to know we have public relations professionals who are at least offering a valuewhen speaking of their work. But not so good when they just “pull the figure out of thin air,” oruse an absurd exaggeration that can’t possibly be corroborated.Clearly, we still have a ways to go to fully integrate objective measurement standards that aren’tbuilt upon exaggerations or deadline-infused wild guesses.As PRSA wrote to The Wall Street Journal at the time, it is through the work of the BarcelonaPrinciples, which laid out a framework for global measurement standards, along with the LisbonSummit, both of which PRSA was a party to and played a role in advising, that leaves meconfident that the public relations profession is well on its way toward developing more stringentglobal measurement standards that will meet the business communitys desires for measurablevalue regarding its investment in PR services. And at a time when marketers and advertisersare equally concerned with developing more objective measurement standards, it behooves usto continue to be keenly focused on this vital initiative.And that’s really what this summit is all about: building a bridge between the significant andprominent work that you and many others have already accomplished in the area of publicrelations measurement with the realities and challenges that PR professionals around the worldface daily. Through the discussions you will have over the next two days, you will help set theagenda for the profession’s focus on, and exploration of, measurement. And that is a vitallyimportant initiative, particularly as client budgets continue to tighten and the world becomes amore data-driven society.So, on behalf of the Public Relations Society of America, and the entire U.S. public relationsprofession, I thank you for your important work and the insight you will provide. We simply wouldnot be where we are today, well on our way toward developing a global measurement standardin public relations, if it were not for the discussions and debates that take place at the NorthAmerican Summit on Public Relations Measurement.Now, let me introduce today’s opening keynote speaker, Anne Fenice. She is the director ofcritical metrics analysis systems at Yahoo and a renowned expert on public relationsmeasurement and research. A former media analyst and research at Edelman, Anne nowdevelops research programs and designs strategic reports that drive informed businessdecisions for multiple Fortune 500 companies.Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming to the stage Ann Fenice of Yahoo!