Breaking Down PR Return on Investment (ROI)
A brand’s image and reputation greatly relies on local, regional and national buzz–what are people in the community saying about you?
Think about this for a moment. What was the last brand–be it clothing, a great restaurant, a new product–that you were interested in and where did that interest stem from? A great restaurant review, a profile on a local company making trendy new sunglasses, or a roundup of great summer products; more likely than not, those placements were a result of public relations output, and those individual articles peaked your interest, making that brand top of mind.
Many people make the mistake of thinking advertising and public relations are one in the same, and that return on investment (ROI) measurement should be an easy, quantifiable amount for both. Though advertising and PR can (and often do) go hand in hand as a larger integrated strategy, breaking down the value and impact of public relations on your company’s bottom line takes a different approach than advertising.
Advertising is paid and utilizes a controlled message, so its value can be explained through quantifiable and tangible metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates and page views. Public relations is earned and not paid, so ROI measurement takes qualitative and quantitative approaches, with ROI evaluated from a number of factors, including tone, share of voice, size of the article, messaging, outlet and circulation.
At Crowe PR, we live by our motto: powered by imagination, driven by results. We work to creatively discover new ways of bringing our companies/brands to the forefront of their industries, and we evaluate success based on quantitative and qualitative results. And, we are determined to get results that not only surpass expectations, but truly move the needle. We understand that, much like other expenses, PR is a line item on a company’s P&L and businesses continuously analyze those items to maximize profits. So, we do our part in ensuring that PR continues to be a ‘must-have’ by showcasing ROI.
For instance, in addition to quantifying the results–measuring the output (research, positioning copy, media materials, releases, pitches, interviews, impressions, web traffic, ad value comparison, etc.)–we monitor the qualitative results. Is the intended message properly communicated? Is the brand voice clearly identified and consistent? Is there a compelling message that connects with target audiences? And does the media coverage support the company image?
Though PR ROI measurement isn’t as black and white as advertising ROI, the right PR programs provide companies with an opportunity to accelerate company growth and bring awareness through strategic messaging third-party endorsement, generating a lasting impact on the company’s profitability. And that’s the bottom line!