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“It’s time to forget the search for a PR measurement silver bullet”, says AMEC CEO Barry Leggetter

Few people are as popular in PR as the legend that is AMEC CEO Barry Leggetter. With the 2018 AMEC conference in Barcelona just under a month away (it will also be Barry’s last as CEO of AMEC) I caught up with him to talk about where we have got to with the measurement debate and what’s in store at this year’s AMEC conference.

Ben Smith: The 2018 AMEC's Global Measurement Summit is in Barcelona June 12-14th. What's the summit all about?

Barry Leggetter: The theme of the Global Summit is “Measurement and the Three I’s – Insights, Integration and Innovation” and this really reflects the huge change we have seen in the way media works and the way that PR agencies and communications teams have changed the way they work.

International speakers will talk about the latest techniques and thinking in communications measurement. We’ve got speakers from big companies such as Google, NATO, Adobe, Verizon, Microsoft, Cision, AXIS Capital, UNICEF and SKF Group. We’re also running a series of interactive workshops, a learning lab, if you will.

What is sure to be a Summit highlight is that we have leaders of five organisations, the original partners to the ground-breaking Barcelona Principles measurement guidelines, taking part in a special session on “Through the Measurement Lens”, what has changed and what they want to see change in the 10 years ahead!

The results of the joint research project “Through the Measurement Lens” will be presented by The Global Alliance; Public Relations Society of America, ICCO, Institute for Public Relations and AMEC.

At the Global Summit five international leaders in measurement will each give their view of the future and take part in audience questions. They are: Alex Aiken, Executive Director for Government Communications, HM UK Government; Paloma Escudero, Global Director of Communications, UNICEF; Abe Smith, ‎President, EMIA (Europe, Middle East, India, Africa), ‎Cision; John Croll, CEO of Isentia and Richard Bagnall, Chairman, AMEC.

BS: Where are we on the PR measurement road do you think? Is it all about education of relevant KPIs? Outcomes versus outputs? Or is there still a move to try and find a silver bullet PR measurement KPI?

BL: Forget about the silver bullet – it’s a wild goose chase. We have a great free resource to the industry in the AMEC Integrated Evaluation Framework. The reality is that measurement in PR and communications has never been more important.. At a time of huge change in PR you need to be able to prove that your work is having a business benefit for your client or your organisation. Measurement helps you do that. And that’s where AMEC and the Global Summit comes in.

BS: Who is the conference relevant to? Is it a bunch of the world's measurement geeks all in one room? Or is the content just as relevant for agency and in-house people? If I work for an agency, what am I likely to learn from the event? And likewise if I work in-house?

BL: I think some of our top international experts in measurement might quite enjoy being described as geeks!. However what I know from what I see on Twitter is that there are still a lot of people working for an agency, or in-house, who are still confused about measurement; who want help to move away from AVEs but do not know how to start. I would say, come to Barcelona. You will see practical alternatives but also have the great benefit of talking to people and learning from their own experience of how they made measurement matter in their company.

BS: How many AMEC conferences have you organised now? In that time, how has the PR measurement debate moved forward and what do you see as its key current challenges?

BL: This is my 10th Global Summit. We have moved the debate to a point of international acceptance that measurement matters! Our biggest challenge remains education and this is why I am hoping some PRmoment readers will take the opportunity to come to the Global Summit in Barcelona. We have people coming from 38 countries including China. To book for the Global Summit click here.

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