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Ruler. Calculator. Scissors. These were the rudiments of PR evaluation when I entered the profession as an account exec in the early noughties.

With the news that Social has a magnificent 7 shortlistings in the international measurement awards for our work on TV architect George Clarke’s Council House Scandal and Stephensons Solicitors’ campaign to highlight asbestos in primary schools – I’ve reflected on some of the signs of the times for measurement and evaluation.

Back in the 2000s, researchers were to be found at 7am hunkered down surrounded by towers of hard copy newspapers, scanning the print for client mentions, NIBs, columns or the holy grail – the page lead with photograph. They measured the print real estate on the page with the ruler and used a swatch of rate cards to calculate the piece’s value in Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE).

The piece would be snipped out with the scissors and circulated to the teams that handled those accounts in a folder each day with the AVE calculation proudly displayed.

Job done…right?

The truth is measurement mattered then but in all the wrong ways and for all the wrong reasons.

Fast forward to 2020. No ruler. No scissors. But calculations and digital data capture, yes. Tracking the key metrics that matter to your client or your campaign and coding your data so it can pivot to support study and scrutiny from a multitude of angles, showing campaign success, insights and revealing trends to boot; that’s what matters.

Job done right!

Today, the archaism of AVE is now rightly an outdated modus operandi – thanks to the rally call of the Barcelona Principles.

Add to that the work of AMEC – the international Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication and we have a watershed moment in time for metrics.

Its development of an integrated evaluation framework of communication and media theories spanning fields and disciplines give practitioners a roadmap to follow from objectives to impact. Its 7 step framework brings greater consistency to evaluation of strategic public relations leading the way to standards, rigour and validity.

So the truth is measurement matters more than ever. If the job is done right, it can move mountains for PR practitioners to demonstrate robust return on investment. The hard data of PR can ultimately become a persuasive element at the client’s board room table.

Social has followed AMEC’s roadmap to bring rigour and validity to our work and we are incredibly proud to have 7 shortlistings in a year that has seen record levels of entry and quality. Johna Burke, CEO of AMEC said: “Being shortlisted is in itself a mark of excellence for an organization; a win in its own right because it shows that the work is outstanding among global competitors.”

We are therefore thrilled to be shortlisted for Council House Scandal in the following categories: Best first step on a measurement journey, Best use of measurement for a single event or campaign, Best use of integrated communication measurement/research and Most effective planning, research and evaluation in the public and not-for-profit sectors. Our work for Stephensons Solicitors is shortlisted for Best use of measurement for a single event or campaign, Best use of integrated communication measurement/research and the Most effective use of planning, research and evaluation in Western Europe.

The results are due be announced early in July and will hopefully mark a major sign of the times for Social with awards to bring home to the UK.