Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Barcelona Principles - the end of AVE?

Jay O'ConnorThe world's experts in research and public relations measurement and evaluation came together in Barcelona this past week under the umbrella of AMEC (the Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication). The CIPR's Measurement Group joined with organisations such as the Global Alliance for Public Relations, the IPR's Commission on Measurement and Evaluation, the PRSA and the ICCO to agree a set of measurement and evaluation principles. The Barcelona Principles, which will be refined based on detailed participant feedback, will be built on by AMEC and its partners over the coming months and years.

I guess the standout headline from the principles is that "AVEs are not the value of public relations" - a strong statement that participants hope will allow the PR profession to move forward and to develop more sophisticated techniques that measure organisational impact.

The principles are listed below and we will review and consider these as we update the CIPR's guidance on measurement and evaluation. One thing we want to ensure is that the breadth of public relations activity is reflected in our guidance - so media and non-media activities.

You may be interested in listening to Philip Sheldrake, Chair of our Measurement Group run through the principles and interview AMEC's Executive Director Barry Leggetter and Katie Delahaye Paine of KD Paine & Partners (the 'Queen of Measurement'!) about the conference output:

And I use the word 'output' diligently. As you may note from the principles and from the audio, the PR profession must move from measuring outputs towards evaluating outcomes, and, of course, whilst we now know the output of the conference, the outcome remains to be seen. As Katie Delahaye Paine points out, it is up to us to provide and assert the consultancy and guidance to our clients and/or our own organisations.

Each principle will be explained in more detail in an accompanying explanatory text from AMEC, due for publication soon, but for now the headlines are:

  • Goal setting and measurement are important
  • Media measurement requires quantity and quality
  • AVEs are not the value of public relations
  • Social media can and should be measured
  • Measuring outcomes is preferred to measuring media results (outputs)
  • Organisational results and outcomes should be measured whenever possible
  • Transparency and replicability are paramount to sound measurement.

The Barcelona Principles photo

We'll be sure to let you know as soon as the AMEC team has taken the feedback from conference delegates into account and finalised the detail.

Barry Leggetter and other members of the AMEC team are joining me and other members of our Measurement Group on the 6th July for a roundtable at Russell Square. This will also help the Social Media Measurement Group achieve its objectives for 2010 (part of our broad review of M&E guidance), as listed on its wiki, specifically the updating and communication of the CIPR's measurement and evaluation policy.

Note: You may also find a previous interview Philip Sheldrake conducted with Katie Delahaye Paine, 20th June 2010, of interest: