Actually, only two of the three in the title were really in abundance. Read on and you’ll see.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the 4th European Summit on Measurement in Dublin, a conference run by the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC for short).
When I first heard of AMEC I have to confess that I wondered whether it was just a collection of geeks. 16 months and 3 conferences later I now fully recognise the extent of the commercial experience and acumen within the organisation and the key role it is playing in driving forward an important agenda for communications and measurement professionals globally.
The Dublin conference follows up on the previous successes of Barcelona in 2010, when the Barcelona Principles were adopted; and Lisbon “Legacy” in 2011, when the application of the new ‘Valid Metrics’ framework was rolled-out.
A year ago I blogged on the outcome of the Lisbon Summit and raised 4 challenges. So let’s revisit those:
1 The challenges of ROI and global standards are elephantine. Well, no elephants have been devoured, but reasonable sized chunks are being chewed on. Particularly in social media measurement, where the “March to Social Standards” presented by Tim Marklein and Katie Paine showed tangible evidence of progress in promoting transparency of sources and methods of measurement and in the definitions around the key metrics of Reach, Engagement, Influence and Relevance where draft documents are all due out this year.
2 The ridiculous number of organisations that have to be cajoled along. There was impressive progress here too as the #SMMStandards team have brought together all of the key stakeholders plus some clients and, crucially, the Media Ratings Council in the States. Katie Paine put this down to a grand offering of lobster and wine, but however it was achieved, she’s rivalling Kofi Annan when it comes to multi-party diplomacy.
3 The different audiences – client and agency, large and small. I believe this remains a big challenge as it will continue to be the case that “one size does not fit all”. The standards are the right way to go, but ultimately the end solutions for Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, Philips or Fedex will remain way beyond the means of 75%+ of small, independent operators. As Richard Houghton, former president of ICCO stated, “60%+ of campaigns are not even measured”.
4 Education – of both PR agencies and their clients. Summit delegates recognised the importance of this and of showing leadership to take the industry forward, but it is a challenging task, particularly in such a difficult economic climate when budgets are being squeezed leaving even less scope for new measurement techniques. However, more engagement with the end user is essential, as otherwise there is a danger that the measurement people drive an agenda that their customers are not interested in.
The world is changing fast. Digital comms – in all its forms, not just social media – have changed the way businesses manage their brands. Developing standards, frameworks and practices to measure communication in this new world is incumbent upon the profession and Barry Leggetter‘s AMEC is leading the charge.
Forth Metrics aims to play its own small part in this, particularly in the space where simple, objective measurement can be opened up to the vast majority of PR professionals, not just the ones with the well-heeled global brands to look after.
Oh yes, and whether it is Philip Sheldrake‘s “geek chic” or not, embracing the challenges to drive the industry forward needs some distinctly non-geeky skills!