September is Measurement Month and to coincide, a new version of measurement and valuation guidelines has been launched.

The ‘Barcelona Principles’ have been updated for the first time since they were introduced in 2010, with the new version launched today by the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, (AMEC), in London.

The new guidelines focuses more on what to do, rather than the previous version which had more of a focus on what not to do.

Laura Sutherland, Aura’s MD who watched the launch via Periscope said: “This is a welcome change to the measurement guidelines and really makes the Barcelona Principles more relevant and up-to-date.

“Measurement has always been a difficult part of what we do in PR/comms, and not everyone does it properly. Aura focusses on the outcomes, rather than outputs. It’s essential that we set goals and objectives at the start to benchmark, so we can actually see the improvements, whether it’s behaviour, opinion, leads or sales.

“It got more complicated when PR practitioners started to work across social and digital channels, but it’s important these are included in the metrics too. I am thankful however that word ‘replicability’ has been dropped!”

Stuart Bruce wrote earlier today that his USP was better measurement and evaluation than competitors, but soon realised that by talking about and sharing these metrics, he became better himself.

Sutherland added: “It’s the same for everyone else – we need to work together to improve the understanding of the value of what we do.”

The changes made to the seven Barcelona Principles are as follows:

Principle 1:

The name of the principle has been changed from ‘Importance of goal setting and measurement’ to ‘Goal setting and measurement are fundamental to communication and public relations’.

AMEC says: “While the Barcelona Principles were intended to provide a foundation for PR programs, the updated principles recognise that they can also be applied to the larger communication function of any organisation, government, company or brand globally. In fact, measurement, evaluation and goal-setting should be holistic across media and paid, earned, owned and shared channels.”

Principle 2:

Changes from ‘Measuring the effect on outcomes is preferred to measuring outputs’ to ‘Measuring communication outcomes is recommended versus only measuring outputs’.

“The updated principle is more encompassing of the role of qualitative methods. While the original principle stated quantitative methods of measuring outcomes were ‘often preferable,’ the updated principle recognises that the use of qualitative methods (along with quantitative) should be used as appropriate. The updated principle also specifically calls out advocacy as an outcome that can (and should) be measured.”

Principle 3:

From ‘The effect on business results can and should be measured where possible’ to ‘The effect on organisational performance can and should be measured where possible’.

“The updated principle emphasises that communications impact more than just business results; rather communications can impact the overall performance of an organisation. To do this, organisations must have, and practitioners must understand, integrated marketing and communication models. The PR channel does not exist in a silo, nor should PR measures.”

Principle 4:

From ‘Media measurement requires quantity and quality’ to ‘Measurement and evaluation require both qualitative and quantitative methods’.

“The updated principle recognises that qualitative measures are often needed in order to explain ‘the why’ behind the quantitative outcomes. In addition, the updated principle reminds practitioners that to be truly objective, we need focus on measuring performance (be it positive, negative or neutral), and avoid making assumptions that results will always be positive or ‘successful’.”

Principle 5:

From ‘AVEs are not the value of public relations’ to ‘AVEs are not the value of communications’.

“The updated principle continues to underline that advertising value equivalents (AVEs) measure the cost of media space or time and do not measure the value of PR or communication, media content, earned media, etc.”

Principle 6:

From ‘Social media can and should be measured’ to ‘Social media can and should be measured consistently with other media channels’.

“The updated principle recognises that social media measurement tools have evolved to a point where there is greater potential for consistent measurement on engagement, along with quantity and quality.”

Principle 7:

From ‘Transparency and replicability are paramount to sound measurement’ to ‘Measurement and evaluation should be transparent, consistent and valid’.

“In the spirit of integrity, honesty and openness, the updated principle includes more specific guidance valid quantitative and qualitative methods in an effort to ensure quantitative methods are reliable and replicable and qualitative methods are trustworthy.”

Story on PR Week here.