Understand your impact – that’s the best measurement of PR

By Hayley Goff, Chief Operating Officer

We talk a lot about the methods and importance of measurement in the PR business, and so it was great to attend PR Moment’s recent analytics event where Alex Aiken, executive director of the Government Communication Service counselled attendees to “make measurement a mainstream part of every PR programme and campaign. It’s not nice to have. It’s an integral part of communications.”

Measurement has been at the heart of our results-driven approach to PR – in fact since 1999, when we offered clients a better PR solution – tangible results with robust performance commitments and formal service level agreements.  It’s one of the key reasons for our long-standing client relationships.

A clear message from the PR Moment event was that the industry is still changing and clients are demanding transparency and more effective measurement – and that sentiment is something I wholeheartedly support.  We are deliberately different in our approach, providing set fees for set deliverables and transparent targets — we don’t believe in the intangible retainer model.  Encouragingly, this was recognised by the majority of clients in our last Client Satisfaction Survey in December, with 88% agreeing that Whiteoaks provides clarity from the outset in terms of investment, activity and outputs.

Listening to Richard Bagnell, chairman of the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) at the PR Moment event, as he outlined that the problem with measurement is that people often start with the tools and data available, rather than the organisational goals and objectives, got me thinking.

Campaign management used to be about storytelling – but a story isn’t enough. Creative or not, clients need to balance creativity with realism, as I outlined in our last Whiteoaks Insights video campaign. Our strategic approach focuses on understanding a company’s business objectives, who they are trying to reach and identifying the desired perceptions and behaviours required from the target audience.  It is only once we have this information that we can create the correct audience centric messaging, select the appropriate channels and implement the right tactical mix.  Proof in point is that 84% of clients believed that Whiteoaks creates campaigns that support their company’s business objectives.

However, the holy grail of PR is to demonstrate the ROI delivered from a campaign, and as such I am incredibility proud that 84% of the clients surveyed agreed that Whiteoaks delivers a clear ROI.  The focus on the industry at the moment is on proving the outcomes delivered from campaigns, and we are working closely with clients and their extended teams to collect the necessary data required to show the business impact our efforts have achieved.  Our work for Omnico in 2017 demonstrates how powerful an integrated marketing and lead generation strategy can be.

We asked our clients what they valued most about working with us, and some of the feedback included:

Strong client satisfaction levels motivate our account teams to deliver the best results, and a continual feedback loop with clients is important for us to evolve and improve. All of clients surveyed agreed that the Whiteoaks team is always willing to help.  There is no doubt that the strongest and most effective accounts we have are when we are treated as an extension of the communications team and so we are extremely proud to have received such praise in this vital service area.  And going a step further for our multi-national clients, I can already share with you our new, agency-agnostic approach to high-performance international PR, launched this week, which you can read about here.