The 10 Million Dollar Kiss

I read an article from the Wall Street Journal titled, “Publicists Pump Up Value of Buzz; Don’t Believe the Hype.” The article touched on the issue of public relations measurement, a matter PR practitioners have been wrestling for a long time. It doesn’t matter if you work in an agency setting, a nonprofit, or if you own your own business. Measuring results from any kind of PR effort can be a tedious task. You (or your client) desire to see what came out of the effort put into securing news coverage, editorial, blog posts, etc., for your business/client. This makes measurement an important aspect of PR.

Recently, a Vancouver couple gained a lot of national attention for their infamous kiss amid a frantic riot. With all the attention, they soon hired a PR agency to field media calls and to look after their other “commercial activities.” Max Markson, who contacted the couple and is now represented them at the firm, valued their kiss at $10 million. Uh…so where did that number come from? According to Max, he “pulled the figure out of thin air.” Unfortunately, pulling figures out of thin air doesn’t work. So what works? There’s no right way to measure results. Every PR program is different. But measurement will usually involve research, monitoring, and tracking of certain metrics such as exposure, engagement, and action, to determine the value of PR.

About two years ago, I had the opportunity of listening to (and dining with) Katie Delahaye Paine. Katie is the founder of KDPaine & Partners LLC, a research consultancy that provides measurement and accountability for corporations, non-profits and government agencies. Her PR measurement blog is a great resource to learn about how to measure PR, social media, media relations, and whatever else you’re thinking of measuring. Okay maybe not whatever, but you get the point.

What are your thoughts on PR measurement? Is there a right or wrong way to measure results? Let me know in the comments below!

Photo courtesy of Getty Images via Flickr, Philippe Martin.

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