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A postcard from Prague: Francis Ingham reports from AMEC's annual summit

Year seven of representing the PRCA and ICCO at AMEC’s annual Global Summit. What were my conclusions?

First, the evaluation industry is – in the words of AMEC’s chairman Richard Bagnall – ‘in rude health’. Growing; confident; innovative. Its role becomes more strategic and central with each passing year, and its services more vital to a world craving data and insight.

Second, there is a powerful appetite in the evaluation world to work with our industry. Over the past decade, ICCO, PRCA, and AMEC have collaborated in a whole host of areas, not least our joint publication, The PR Professional’s Definitive Guide to Measurement. That collaboration is set to deepen, as we promote discounted membership to one another's bases.

Third though, there is more to do – much more. In my comments to the Summit, I cautioned that we are in danger of seeing a two-speed evaluation market. Whilst progress has been consistent in most regions of the world, we know from last year’s ICCO World Report that some areas have actually slipped backwards. As we said when launching the PRCA PR and Communications Census two weeks ago, AVEs are now dead in the UK. But sadly that isn’t the case in many other regions of the world, including, for example, Western Europe.

Evaluation is absolutely critical to the future of the PR industry. Proper evaluation, placed at the heart of every piece of work, would prove the value that we bring. Which in turn would allow us to charge appropriate (higher) fees. Which in turn would allow us to reward people better -and so address the number one issue highlighted by industry leaders in pretty much every PRCA and ICCO market analysis I have seen over the past decade: talent.

Progress continues to be made; our special relationship with AMEC is stronger than ever; but we need to be even more resolute in putting evaluation at the heart of our industry.

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