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October 16, 2013

Four Major Corporations Implement Interim Public Relations Research Standards

NEW YORK (Oct. 16, 2013) — The Coalition for Public Relations Research (Coalition), of which the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is a participating organization, has released the first round of proposed interim standards to be tested by four companies that are major buyers of public relations research and measurement. The four companies are General Electric, McDonald’s USA, General Motors and Southwest Airlines.
PRSA’s participation in the Coalition is the latest example of its ongoing commitment to support the development of standards.  In 2009, PRSA established a Measurement Task Force that developed a framework for documenting business outcomes, and has been providing resources to members as part of PRSA’s Business Case for Public Relations.
The release of the interim standards is part of a six stage process designed by the Coalition. Following this stage, the Coalition will review, revise and propose adoption of the standards.
“This is a significant, strategic step forward for the public relations industry as we strive to establish more meaningful and consistent data and metrics,” said Molly McKenna, Director of Public Relations, McDonald’s USA.  “Consistent standards will help researchers, agencies and brands move further to better connect PR outputs with business outcomes.”
The Coalition for Public Relations Research was formed in 2012 to create a platform of standards for research and measurement.  “Basing our process on the recommendations of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), we said from the beginning that customers like these corporations are the final arbiters of when a standard is ready to move forward,” said David Geddes, coalition chair and principal of Geddes Analytics.
The first set of standards covers traditional media measurement, digital and social media measurement, communications lifecycle (awareness, knowledge, intent, preference, and advocacy), and return on investment. Use of standards such as these it possible to validate results; to link results to business outcomes; to merchandise the impact of the results; to set smarter objectives, develop better strategies, employ more compelling and engaging tactics; and make midcourse program adjustments and corrections.
The Coalition was formed to create a broad platform of standards and best practices for public relations research, measurement and evaluation.  The participating organizations include PRSA, the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, the Institute for Public Relations, the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, the Council of Public Relations Firms, and The Conclave.
The customer-approved standards are being published by all six organizations and can be found here.  Further research will be conducted to confirm the validity and reliability of the standards.  The coalition will periodically review and revise the standards based on industry needs and as technology continues to progress.
About the Public Relations Society of America
PRSA is the largest professional organization serving the U.S. public relations community. With a mission to “advance the profession and the professional,” PRSA provides news and information, thought leadership, continuing education and networking opportunities; sets standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct; and advocates for the business value of public relations and greater diversity among public relations professionals. Based in New York, PRSA comprises 112 local Chapters; 14 Professional Interest Sections that focus on specific industries and practice areas; and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which is active at more than 320 colleges and universities.

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