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Measurement Month: Proving & Improving Communications with Dr Glenn O’Neil

November is Global Measurement Month, and in association with the Public Relations Institute of Australia, this month Smoke Signal Podcast will feature a series of episodes with global leaders in PR measurement all under the theme of “reimagining measurement and evaluation in public relations”.

This first episode of the series features Dr Glenn O’NeiI. Based in Geneva Switzerland, Glenn is founder of OWL RE, leading evaluation, research and communication projects for NGOs, UN agencies and international organisations.

Glenn strongly believes measurement and evaluation needs to both prove the value of communication and improve the practice of public relations.

“Working with the NFP sector, NGOs and UN Agencies there is really a desire to use measurement and evaluation in a way that also helps continual learning – and that is important. It becomes as much about proving what we’ve done has made a difference as how do we improve for the future,” Glenn says.

Showcasing the application of measurement in practice, Glenn uses this example on a Euro 33 million anti-smoking campaign #exsmokers are unstoppable which he reviewed and assessed to show the opportunity, and challenges, with measurement and evaluation for PR practitioners.

In summing up this campaign, Glenn says monitoring and evaluation done well can really support the communicators the contribution they are making based on sound data.

To move the dial on measurement and evaluation, Glenn believes research, evaluation and monitoring should be at least five to ten per cent of every professional communicators workload every day.

Glenn is an advocate for the profession jumping from measuring outputs (number of people reached, tonality, share of voice) to measuring outcomes (changing in behaviour, attitude and knowledge).

“PR is great at deliverables but the measurement remains superficial. Jumping from outputs to the outcomes is not easy but today is not impossible. To measure outcomes it comes back to asking, consulting or observing people; how can algorithms and technology help us as communicator more effectively and efficiently look at behaviour change.”

To achieve this, measurement should start from the beginning of the communication program to set a baseline. At the very start, at a minimum, estimate where the organisation is and where it wants to get to. Then set up points to monitor throughout the campaign.

We will be releasing a new Measurement Month Podcast every Monday throughout November. Be sure to subscribe via the blog, iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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