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Barcelona Principles 3.0 — What does it mean for PR measurement?

  • Thursday 30 Jul, 2020

Barcelona. Famous for its history, architecture and football. And, if you work in comms, famous as being the city where PR finally set some ground rules on measurement.

When the Barcelona Principles were launched in 2010 it marked a real turning point for our industry. PR teams across the globe finally had some clear guidance on how to measure the impact of what they did — from the importance of goal setting, to the value of qualitative analysis and, of course, a firm directive that AVEs are not the value of communications.

In the past ten years, the Barcelona Principles have become an essential part of our industry. The seven core principles set out in 2010 underpin all good measurement and AMEC (The Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communications) have ensured they remain relevant by updating the principles every five years.

This month the Barcelona Principles 3.0 were launched. The 3.0 iteration takes into account some of the shifts that have taken place in our sector during recent years — such as the fact that communications is now a truly cross-channel discipline where all channels are equally valid. It also broadens the principles to ensure they can be applied to non-commercial goals — great news where the comms objective isn’t about boosting the bottom line but is a more about reputational change, stakeholder engagement or societal impact.

The emphasis on transparency, the importance of measuring both quality and quantity and the importance of setting KPIs have all been retained and strengthened in the new version too. And, of course, the fact that AVEs are not the value of communication remains unchanged.

On the surface, it may look like a gentle evolution of what we already had. But, PR professionals would be wise to take note.

The full list of Barcelona Principles 3.0 includes:

1. Setting measurable goals is an absolute prerequisite to communication planning, measurement and evaluation
2. Measurement and evaluation should identify outputs, outcomes and potential impact
3. Outcomes and impact should be identified for stakeholders, society and the organisation
4. Communication measurement and evaluation should include both qualitative and quantitative analysis
5. AVEs are not the value of communication
6. Holistic communication measurement and evaluation includes all relevant online and offline channels
7. Communication measurement and evaluation are rooted in integrity and transparency to drive learning and insights

For an audit of your current measurement or for training on best-practice measurement and evaluation, please email Marianne Morgan.

Marianne Morgan is Director of Research and Analytics at Citypress and Chair of the European Chapter for AMEC.

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