Since public relations is a broad profession and may cover a wide variety of disciplines – media relations, online engagement, crisis communications, public affairs, executive counseling, brand building, events, reputation management, employee communications and financial communications to name a few – it is difficult to conceptualize the totality of value public relations and communication delivers to the organization.
For the most part, public relations measurement has focused on attempts to measure media relations value and is not really addressing the other areas very well. When you are attempting to quantify the full value and ROI of public relations, taking the broad view paints a much richer picture.
The PR Value Cube is a tops-down conceptual framework for capturing all the ways PR is contributing value to the organization. PR contributes value in one of three major, interrelated areas:
Marketing – Sales and other marketing oriented programs and metrics (e.g. lead generation) fit within this category. The vast majority of PR measurement efforts today fall within the Marketing category.
Brand – PR contributes to building brands. Value contribution in this area is usually more anecdotal than measured. Experiential PR and many social media campaigns are contributing more to brand than sales or any other area.
Reputation – One of the primary overarching purposes of PR is reputation enhancement and protection, yet our contribution here again is usually measured more by ‘gut metrics’ than analytics.