Struggle #3 My Strategy is Too Hard to Measure

50% of people say that their strategy is too hard to measure.

It’s not much of a strategy if that’s true.  It’s been interesting to watch PR pros in the last decade.  Social media insisted you be short and direct with messages.  (My blog articles are usually under 300 words for you.) You should also be short and direct when you ask, “What does success look like?”    Your strategy has a tangible outcome.  It’s not about trying, it’s about doing.  The outcomes are measurable but you might need to collaborate to demonstrate your valuable part in the success.  That’s where some of you get overwhelmed.  We can help. Continue reading

Struggle #2: Even pros don’t know how to approach and implement measurement.

80% of PR professionals don’t measure because they don’t know where to begin.  Even if someone hands them some metrics (the raw building blocks of measurement), they might not have an approach for making it useful.

If you wanted to measure the path from your door to your car, you could use a tape measure or a yardstick.  If the path had direction changes in it, you’d measure each length and add them together to get a final answer.  If the path has a curve, you’d add its circumference.  If the path includes taking the elevator, you’d add in the height between floors.  Summed, they are a single and final answer to the question, “How far will I travel to reach my car?”

Media measurement is no different. Useful answers come from integrating your metrics together to arrive at knowledge.  Your approach should include gathering impressions, costs, and outcomes (sales, savings, actions).  Your implementation is a resulting equation to answer the question, “How effective was my activity?”  Knowing how things compare gives you insight for being more and more effective over time.

Comment if you are stumped about approaching your metrics and calculating your final answer.  I can help.

#1 Struggle: “People can’t find meaningful measurement.”

What does it mean?  One study found that the number one reason that people struggle with measurement is that they can’t get meaningful measurement.  Supposedly, it’s true for any industry, organization or endeavor.   It’s certainly true for people who invested in “canned” dashboards.

To get meaning from your measurement, you need a little help at the right time.  You know more than you think about what would be meaningful.

Here’s a few tips for getting to meaningful measurement.

  1. Involve a measurement expert from the start (not after the fact).
  2. Use data to set measurable goals for what success means to you.
  3. Measure before, during and after an effort.
  4. Conclude with answering these questions…
    • Did I reach my goal?
    • What happened and why?
    • What does it mean?
    • What will I do about it?

Keep it simple, but get the help of a measurement partner to make it easy and meaningful.

Measure well!  No excuses.

Debi Parcheta


Image Courtesy of Creative Commons Flickr, Author:  chetbox

Comment below: What does this heat map view of a face mean?  People struggle with measurement because they need meaning.

Why Struggling Brands Need to Measure Most

Are you struggling to improve media relations for a declining brand?

Failing brands need media measurement most of all.  Measuring can determine if a brand has forgotten its values.  Or we could measure to see if a brand is overestimating its own importance.  Some brands are guilty of branching out too far and measurement can tell you if people view your brand as being in the wrong category or if they think a brand is behaving deceptively.  Fatigue can be readily measured when a brand fails to be creative or innovative.

For many brands, failure coincides with not measuring at all – you weren’t watching what was happening.   Brands must stay relevant.  They need to measure consumer patterns, competitor positions, market evolution, and cultural trends.

This sort of measurement doesn’t need to be complicated.  Look around periodically.  Train yourself to use data to develop insights to lift your struggling brand up again.

Happy to help.

Let’s talk about being insightful.
Debi Parcheta, BlueVision® Media Measurement


Lurk and Learn

The smartest PR pros know that they have to take a magnifying glass and have a look around … often.  If you are not watching the competition or consumer conversations, how can you differentiate messaging or position your brand to build relationships?

It’s easier than ever to lurk where consumers and competitors are vocal.  You don’t need to make it a big project.  In 5 minutes a day, you can check up on just 2 media channels to take the pulse of competing brands and trends.  Your 5 minutes are best spent on

  1. tweets (where hashtags can be easily used to compile current conversations) and
  2. online news (where brands and influencers make news and recommendations).

Spend your 5 minutes in a simple routine.

3 minutes – Search and read. With simple media monitoring tools you can see a list of media coverage, sometimes with photos or videos included.  Shown here:  DASH Hound, a BlueVision® tool for finding tweets and news.  (Try it for free….)

1 minute – Use a notebook or a spreadsheet to jot down what is dominating this day’s conversations and news. Note the things that are most repeated.  Note any emotion or intention.  Note innovation, events and collaborations.  If you routinely do this, you will spot new trends right when they start.

1 minute – Share one or two of the most interesting stories with others.  Be a resource for your boss, your colleagues or your clients.   Cut and paste a few representative articles into an email and pass it along.




Also a good read….

Businesses need to spend more time watching their backs and looking at what their competitors are up to, according to market research expert Stephen Phillips.




Integration is the data “hack” of the decade.

We’ve reached an age where data is everywhere!   BUT… really useful, accurate and appropriate analytics are still a long way from being at the right people’s fingertips. It’s not a slick dashboard that gets you there. You have to do better than that.

The “hack”?  It’s simply gathering data from different sources into one model or system (referred to as integrating data) and inferring or deducing new knowledge or competitive advantage from the soup that they become when you throw them together into one pot.   Computer programming and mathematical training and the tools, experience and knowledge that you already have can be used in very creative ways to integrate data, many times more quickly than you think.

What are the things that keep us from hacking analytics in every industry?
•    Territorialism:  People don’t share data well.  Collaboration is what sets our species apart from others, but we still don’t fully embrace it.  Try to think more like a barterer.
•    Money: Data collection and analysis is an ongoing investment, not a whim. Do a cost/benefit exercise – most analytics are worth the price tag but there should be a return on your investment.
•    Time (commitment): Most analytics need to be ongoing – showing change over time.  You’ve failed if you start but don’t continue to analyze for actionable insights or build on your initial findings.
•    Vision:  It’s one thing to look at analytics.  It’s another to imagine how the results move your mission into the future.  Be a thinker.

None of those roadblocks are new.  In fact, they are age-old people problems.  We stand in our own way a lot.


Photo thanks:

Flickr Creative Commons, Jess (Paleo Grubs):





Measurement Month – An Hour of Learning, Your Gift to You



It’s measurement month and I have a challenge for PR and Marketing Communications professionals.  Re-educate yourself to deliver media measurement well.  

The communications industry is at a crossroads.  So much change.  It’s scary, and many communicators have stopped measuring well.  (Yes, I have data to prove that.)

It’s time to re-educate yourself about media measurement because it’s important to have a seat at the table for budgets and branding and marketing strategy.  We need to raise the standard again.

You want to be the thought leader for your own brand.  Schedule an hour with yourself to further your own education about measuring.  Spend a few minutes investigating different components of media measurement.  Then, emerge with a measurement plan for your brand.

Your Hour

  • (10 minutes)  Do I know the standards for media measurement?
  • (10 – 20 minutes)  What are my communications goals for my brand?  (Just one goal will do.) Check out AMEC’s framework for measurement – a template for setting goals and measuring.
  • (5 minutes)  How will I measure the quantity of all the media channels I use with the appropriate daily unique exposures level? (metric: reach/awareness)
  • (10 minutes)  How will I measure the quality of my efforts?  How can I measure the effectiveness of a message or theme? (metric: engagement)
  • (5 minutes)  How will I use quality to improve quantity? (insight)
  • (10 minutes)  How can I give my client/boss/organization realistic, insightful data showing outcomes that achieve brand goals?

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 12.15.20 PMKeep it simple and focused.  And if you work for a team, share what you learned in your hour.  Tell them what you think should be measured, how and why….. because you’re the thought leader, right?

Raising your own standards for measuring lifts you (and your profession) up.

Tell me, how did your hour go?

-Debi Parcheta

Counting Basics for Communicators

The Sumerians started it 6000 years ago –  counting.  The Egyptians transformed counting into measuring – they needed a standard unit of measure to build things and the cubit was born.  Egyptians were the first to use symbols that represented different quantities to note how many things existed.Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 8.09.59 AM

When we measure traditional and social media coverage, we also use standards.  We start by counting the size of the audience that was exposed to our story or social media post.  Communicators who are new to traditional and social media measurement can follow some standard practices to avoid common counting mistakes.  Our objective is to  produce credible and valuable media measurements.

Daily unique Impressions are the standard units on which we build measurements.  Different media channels measure how many people consume the stories they publish in different ways.   We simply want to count the number of unique people who were exposed to our content on a certain date in a certain place.  The standard for accurately representing that in any channel is to count daily unique impressions for each story or post published.  Often, this means that our weekly TV viewers, monthly online visitors, and weekly radio listeners must be converted to daily unique audiences.  A little basic math gets us to a credible number.

A cubit is a cubit. An impression is an impression.  Just like the cubit was the Egypt’s standard block with which to build pyramids, our impressions count is the standard unit to build media measurements.  An impression should represent one person who had the opportunity to consume your content.  Inflation with multiples, rounding up and “dummy” numbers for unknown values only discredits our measurements in our customers’ eyes.  Puffing up our counting doesn’t tell a truthful story and could lead to expensive strategic mistakes when new decisions are made based on exaggerations.

Counting well depends on understanding the media channel.  Media measurement only becomes valuable when we count impressions accurately across all media channels.  Download our Counting Basics guide to avoid common mistakes in counting.  Use these standards to produce credible measurement.  We want to learn realistically and discover actionable strategies for future communication efforts.

A brief history of numbers and counting, Part 1: Mathematics advanced with civilization | Deseret News