IPRS Member's Night Panel Discussion - What is PR? Measuring The Invaluable

IPRS Member's Night - Panel Discussion with Danny Tan, Managing Director at Grayling, Jini Pillai Director Of Marketing & Communications at AON, Jason Lee, Chief Executive at Truescope Singapore and Moderated by Jackie Yu, Head of Communications at Raffles Medical Group.

Storyteller, spin doctor, persuader, crusader and crisis crusher. The Public Relations market value worldwide was estimated at 97.13 billion in 2021 (statista). Who are PR people and what do they do? 

PR people are the ones you call in a crisis, when you have something to sell, when you have good news to share, when you have bad news to deliver and when you need to draw attention to something new, something old or just in plain sight. In a nutshell, PR people are indispensable. 

The profession has attracted many and helped put brands and brand personalities on the map. The industry is made up of those gifted with words and the best ones strategise how and where to get the narratives out. A good PR is your advocate and champion storyteller. 

Given this universally agreed value, how then do you measure its worth that is best understood by clients and the market? Our speakers present their best advice:

Jason Lee: "As the digital landscape rapidly develops, the mediums in which communicators have to adapt to, expands and evolves. Measurement methodologies and metrics naturally follow suit and with advancement in AI, Machine Learning as well as Natural Language Processing, the effectiveness and efficiencies have also progressed. However, what doesn't change is the need to be crystal clear in addressing measurement objectives and desired outcomes and not be clouded by the bells and whistles of technology and what it offers in measurement of communications."

Danny Tan: "Not measuring communications output is a bit like going to the gym to try and lose weight, but then refusing to step on the scale. Keeping with the analogy, tracking communications output is like tracking how much you perspire during your workout – it’s tangible, immediate and reflects the amount of effort you are putting in, but it doesn’t really tell you if you’re achieving your goal of shedding those extra pounds. Measuring both output and outcomes will give you the best view of whether your communications programme is working, and what you need to improve on. Don’t wait until the next pandemic to be asked to justify the value that the PR function brings to your business; take small steps toward building that case today."

Jini Pillai: "PR is strategically communicating with your community to help them get an authentic and accurate awareness of your organisation and its work using media channels they trust. Reporting PR metrics to business therefore must be holistic. Apart from the number of times the organisation is mentioned, leaders must also be made aware of the tonality of the mention, the type and reach of publications, sharing and engagement on social media, and share of voice compared to current and future competitors."

Jackie Yu: While outtakes and outputs are much easier to quantify and perhaps necessary in the short term, outcomes are really what we should focus on. And it should be set out and agreed upon at the start. It’s up to us as a community to steer our stakeholders to take a longer term view on the impact of our work. 

Indeed in the long term, it is better to have a PR advisor on hand at all times than to only reach out for one when you are in dire need.

The IPRS Secretariat