Latest Barcelona Principles help PR better prove its worth

The need for PR people to show the impact of their work has long been highlighted by the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation Communication and today AMEC updated its Barcelona Principles

In 2010, the Barcelona Principles first put pressure on the industry to improve the way it carried out evaluation. It offered seven key principles, generally focusing on what NOT to do. In 2015, Barcelona Principles 2.0, moves these same seven key principles forward, focusing more on what TO do.

David Rockland, chairman of Barcelona Principles 2.0 Working Group, says that the evolution of the principles adds a more “right-brain” aspect to evaluation, rather than relying so much on “left-brain” thinking. Rockland is passionate about measurement and this passion  goes back a long way. He first started thinking about evaluation when he was working on his doctoral dissertation at the US University of  Delaware many years before he moved into PR. This dissertation was about working out how to measure the worth of things that cannot be traded in the market place. He says: “When I wondered into PR in 2000 I realised the industry had to get smarter about measurement. One of the evolutions in PR measurement is linking both sides of the brain, the left-side more quantitative-like approach and the right-side more qualitative-like approach. By bringing in emotions and attitudes you connect both sides to get a much more comprehensive picture.” When it comes to effective measurement, Rockland says goal-setting is key. It is important for client organisations to first work out what the right goals are. Next they need to find out who has the  information in their business they need, the people who have access to  the right metrics.

Measurement in PR has come a long way, but it still has a long way to go. As Rockland says “15 years ago it was about cutting things out of  newspapers. It was arts and crafts! Now it’s about analytics, really  complex analytics and statistical packages.”

AMEC wishes the Barcelona Principles 2.0 to become adopted around the world. Already the UK is leading the way, with many key organisations embracing them, notably our Government Communication Service. Paul Njoku, head of evaluation at Government Communication Service, is keen that the UK communications professionals don’t just follow latest  developments in measurement, but help to spearhead them. He says:  “Rather than backing a few horses we want to sponsor the whole race. We are keen to lead an evaluation revolution across the whole of the Government Communication Service. It is vital that our industry has  more meaningful metrics.”

For more information about events on in Measurement Month and  Barcelona Principles 2.0 go to

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