How to measure communication

If you have no idea how to measure your communication activities, this article is for you.

AMECA brand new framework was launched yesterday by the Association of Measurement & Evaluation of Communication (AMEC).

It is excellent and I strongly urge you to use it.

The new measurement framework uses digital technology to help the user through a step-by-step process which “operationalises” and shows how to bring to life the Barcelona Principles 2.0.

More than that, it helps you turn the principles into action.

(July 2017: An updated version has just been launched and that link replaces ones previously in this article).

What’s exciting for me (yes measurement can be exciting!) are the links between organisational objectives to comms objectives, outputs, out takes, outcomes and organisational impact.

In other words, helping communicators truly understand the value of the work they are doing. This helps you think thoroughly and plan effectively.

Too often I see communications teams working in complete isolation from the rest of the business.

When I ask how their activities support the organisational objectives and what impact it has, answers are less than forthcoming. You don’t have to work in this way.

As I’ve written numerous times:

Everything you do as a communication team or practitioner needs to be directly linked to what the organisation is trying to achieve.

That’s it.

No fancy language, no excuses, your work needs to align with those objectives. If it doesn’t, you need to question why you’re doing it. Seriously.

Further reading: Bust the jargon with my internal communication glossary.

The new framework looks like this:

Why do we need it?

The practices of PR and strategic public communication have struggled with evaluation for almost half a century, as leading practitioners such as Fraser Likely and scholars such as Emeritus Professor Tom Watson have noted (Likely & Watson, 2013).

Much good work has been done and significant progress made such as the Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles (AMEC, 2015).

However, practitioners face a diverse and often confusing range of models, metrics, and methods, and a lack of standards, which are undoubtedly reasons that many practitioners still do not do evaluation based on rigorous methods.

How to measure communication

Measuring communications effectiveness today cannot be answered by searching for a new magic bullet metric or single score or index.

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve judged industry awards and been frustrated by the lack of measurement in the entries.

You should, and could be able to measure what you do. It’s essential. This framework will help you.

The framework builds on work done in the past. It replaces both the AMEC Valid Metrics and the AMEC Social Media Measurement Frameworks, for the first time providing one integrated approach to the measurement challenges of today.

It is clear, concise and exactly what the industry needs. I encourage you to take a look and see how you can apply it to your work.

It’s also free!

July 2017 update: Terminology and dictionary of PR measurement and research

More about AMEC

AMEC is the world’s largest professional body for communications research, media intelligence and insights.

It’s the first point of call for communications and PR professionals to get expert knowledge and advice. See their website and find them on Twitter @AmecOrg.

Thank you AMEC, and particularly Richard Bagnall, my former CIPR Social Media Panel colleague, who is Chair of AMEC and CEO of PRIME Research UK.

Richard led the working group which developed the tool.

He launched the framework at the AMEC summit in London yesterday saying:

“Many of the evaluation methods and techniques that the industry took for granted for so many years are no longer enough.

“We wanted to take the pain out of measuring communication in what has become an ever more complex world. This interactive tool allows organisations of all sizes to easily plan and measure their integrated communications activity, proving the value of their work in a meaningful and credible manner.”

“As organisational silos are coming down, PR and Comms professionals are being asked to work across all forms of media and use, and measure, these new channels.

“Work must encompass paid, earned, shared and owned (PESO) media. The new framework measures across all PESO channels.”

Further reading: See Gini Dietrich’s PESO model if you want to know more about this topic:

PESO measure communication PR

What does the AMEC framework do?

AMEC is proposing a common approach that will work for organisations of all sizes but which can be tailored to very specific user cases and objectives.

Richard adds: “The use of our framework does this – it provides a common approach but tailored, relevant information. Anyone can use it, it is free and non-proprietary, meaning that any organisation, be it in-house, PR agency, or measurement company can benefit from its approach.”

Alex Aiken, Executive Director of Government Communications, UK Government, says: “Evaluating communications effectiveness has never been more important. Across the UK Government, the AMEC Barcelona Principles have helped us to make sure we are measuring what matters. The Barcelona Principles need to be applied in practice so I welcome this new AMEC Interactive Framework which brings these Principles to life in a user-friendly way.

“It’s great to see the industry moving to reflect the integrated nature of modern communications and providing a framework for all levels – not just experts – to apply strong evaluation principles.”

Resources to help you

The new framework website has a number of articles and resources to bring measurement to life.

This includes an evaluation ‘taxonomy’ which lists and explains for each step of the process the key steps required, the metrics and milestones and the methods that should be considered.

More measurement resources via my blog:

What do you think of the AMEC framework? You’re welcome to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.


Bookings are open now for upcoming courses. Measurement is covered in detail in the Internal Communication and Strategic Internal Communication Masterclasses. CIPR and IoIC members can earn CPD and save 20%. Nonprofits organisations can also save 20%. See the Masterclasses website for full info.

If you want to learn more about measurement you can also book me for 1-2-1 consultancy or a 90-minute consultancy call.

Post author: Rachel Miller

First published on the All Things IC blog 17 June 2016 and updated July 2017.



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