Measurement of the effectiveness of public relations activities
Chapman, Raymond (Student of journalism)
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At a time when business managements are beginning to exert pressure on public relations practitioners to be more accountable in terms of proving their contributions to overall organizational effectiveness, practitioners themselves are showing increasing interest in measurement techniques. This project, exploratory and descriptive in nature, points out some of the problems and benefits associated with and inherent in instituting measurement programs. It also examines the current climate of opinion among leading public relations professionals, records their views on the likely future evolution of measurement methods and strategies, and reports the findings of a measurement questionnaire sent to ^26 members of the Chicago chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. Questionnaire results show that the majority of respondents rely heavily on traditional forms of measurement—subjective internal meetings, general feedback, complaints/criticism, opinion polls/surveys, newspaper clips, and broadcast returns--and consider opinion polls/surveys the most important technique. The questionnaire also shows that, by a significant majority, practitioners prefer to use their own (internal) measurement systems as against hiring outside (independent) experts. In addition, results indicate that most public relations practitioners do not fear measurement (as some believe), and that most managements and clients have a real interest in meaningful measurement of public relations activities. Overall, the questionnaire showed that managements and clients are satisfied with the effectiveness of the measurement techniques currently being used. The study concludes that measurement is here to stay and recommends that national officers of PRSA take immediate action to institute professionally recognized and universally-acceptable standards and codes that would benefit individual practitioners and enhance the standing of the profession overall.