When it comes to Public Relations, companies always want to see the ROI or Return on Investment. They want to know what was earned; whether in terms of money, people, or likes. Public Relations agencies offer solutions to problems, and although the majority of the time their solution comes through and proves to be successful, the company still will ask what the Return on Investment was. It’s kinda like, hey buddy, your company is still afloat due to our crisis management… that isn’t enough ROI for you? Sigh.
What they really want to know are the outputs and more importantly the outcomes. The outputs are your basic forms of measurement; essentially what you did and how you did doing it. With online public relations tactics, this is where Google Analytics comes in handy. It gathers the outputs and displays them nicely for you. You can see what you did, how long it took, how many people saw it, how long they stayed on the website, where they went next, etc. For events or other personable public relations tactics, outcomes include things like attendance numbers and positive reviews.
You can’t just rely on outputs for measurement in public relations because you want what comes from those outputs. Sure outcomes are great and seeing the amount of people that went to your website is helpful, but what you really want are the outcomes. The outcomes are the big picture results. Did you change their behavior or attitudes? (Wight, 2013). What about their purchasing habits? For example, with the SheFit Ultimate Bra, an output would be how many bras were sold. An outcome would be something like did the consumer choose the SheFit bra over their usual Nike bra?
People always want to see the outcomes, companies are all about seeing the numbers. But what is more important than the numbers are what comes from those numbers. It’s not always just about the sale or the amount of money earned, it’s about if you’re going to continue on that trend. Outputs are things like the amount of Facebook likes or a new positive review. Outcome, what matters more, comes from these outputs. For example, if someone sees that new positive review and feels reassured and then they turn around and make a purchase (Waldron, 2017). Yes the fact that there was a new review is great, but what’s even better is that loyalty you just earned from a new customer. They then are going to turn around and possibly tell friends or family about their new purchase aka your brand and might even write another positive review. These are the big picture things.
You can’t just rely on the outputs because the outcomes are much more important. Many executives in the companies want to see the results or the Return on Investment. They want to see how their money was spent and if it was effective. This is where tools to show the outputs come in handy so you can demonstrate to the CEO that there were so many visits to the company website and how people’s attitudes were about the company with questionnaire results (Mason, 2017).
Mason, R. (2017, April 24). Measuring PR’s Value. Retrieved November 29, 2017, from http://apps.prsa.org/intelligence/businesscase/measurementresources/measuringvalueofpublicrelations
Waldron, K. (2017, March 21). How to Measure PR Success in 2017 – Ogilvy Public Relations. Retrieved November 29, 2017, from https://www.ogilvypr.com.au/news/article/measure-pr-success-2017
Wight, M. K. (2013, February 20). For Best PR Results, Follow the 3 O’s of Metrics: Outputs, Outtakes & Outcomes. Retrieved November 29, 2017, from http://www.prnewsonline.com/for-best-pr-results-follow-the-3-os-of-metrics-outputs-outtakes-outcomes/