Barcelona Principles

Barcelona Principles: what’s new?

All sorts of new trends and evolutions have started a revolution in PR and communication. Ten years ago, most companies were satisfied if they could measure the outcome of traditional PR activities (hello, AVEs!). But today, there is so much more to know and measure. The borders between marketing and communication are fading (hello, PESO!) and the need to measure every detail of the outcome is increasing. But how do you measure this outcome? What do you need to measure? That’s where the Barcelona Principles come in. They offer a framework for measuring PR and communication.

Last September, the new Barcelona Principles were presented by the AMEC, the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication. The ‘old’ principles from 2010 definitely needed an update. Let’s have a look at the 2.0 version.

  1. Clear goals and metrics are crucial for communication and PR
    With every campaign, big or small, you need to ask yourself what success looks like. From a holistic as well as a specific point of view (think PESO & tools – you can find a good overview here).
  1. You learn more from measuring outcome than measuring only output
    Output = 15 articles after campaign x
    Outcome = changes in behavior of stakeholders after campaign x
  1. The effect on the business results can and needs to be measured if possible
    Everyone who is directly involved with sales, marketing, communication and management should be aware of the impact of PR and communication on the target group. In the end, the change in purchase behavior, preferences and engagement is what really matters. Unfortunately, it’s a big challenge to measure those things in an organized way. But surveys, research, good internal cooperation and an integrated approach can certainly help you get there.
  1. You need a quantitative and qualitative approach to measure and evaluate
    These last years, focus has shifted from quantitative to qualitative measuring. But that doesn’t mean quantitative metrics have become completely useless. You need the qualitative analysis to give the more general numbers some context. According to the Barcelona Principles, the following things need to be measured
    – the number of impressions from the target group or stakeholders
    – quality of coverage, like tone of voice, relevance for the target group, or mention of a spokesperson
  1. AVEs don’t calculate the value of your communication
    Advertising Value Equivalents are just that. They show the cost of media space, but they don’t give you any idea about the value of the communication. If you do want to include ROI, a Weighed Advertising Equivalent is recommended. It includes the advertising rates, the quality of the coverage and the relevant space of the coverage in relation to the total space.
  1. Social media can and has to be measured like other channels
    The rules that apply for PR, are also valid for social media. End of discussion.
  1. Measuring and evaluating should be transparent, consistent and correct
    The last principle is pretty straightforward. There is no use in measuring if it doesn’t happen in a transparent, correct and consistent way.

This is all great, but how do you approach this in your daily work? That is the question we would like to answer on this blog, including strategic advice and quick wins, practical tips and handy how-to’s. Welcome!

PS. Want to learn more about the Barcelona Principles 2.0? Take a look at the AMEC’s website; they published them in September.