After much behind the scenes debate the UK PR industry has finally taken a step out of the shadows and stood tall. The UK’s leading public relations title PR Week announced this week that it would no longer ‘accept AVEs (Advertising Value Equivalents) as a method of measurement in its awards.’
For years, clients and agencies have rightly been asking in-house and agency PR’s for metrics to confirm their investment in communications initiatives.
For some very inexplicable reason the PR industry decided to measure the success of it’s work in advertising terms. Hmmm. How confident this was. We’ve placed a great story, which the journalist feels is strong and newsworthy and worth a few column inches. The story carries a number of the client’s ‘key messages’ and we going to tell the client that our work has helped them save X amount because had they bought the advertising space they would have had to spend Y. What a totally undermining and ridiculous way of measuring the success of professionals whose job is to understand human behaviour and promote causes, values and beliefs to wide ranging audiences. No wonder those in ad-land have been enjoying Champagne budgets.
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations, of which I’m a member of it’s Council, have been having it’s own debate for a number of years about the value of AVE’s. Last June in Barcelona the CIPR along with the Global Alliance For Public Relations decided to move away from AVE as a standard measurement system.
So, with PR Week now not accepting this standard in entries for it’s awards, the question is now about how long it will take industry to focus on other measurements and accept PR for the strength it provides to brand and reputation development and management?
In my opinion Public Relations should be the driver and not the subservient to disciplines that traditionally command the big budgets.
A hat-tip to PR Week, but we still have a long way to go until we are perceived for more than just people doing media relations and gaining column inches.