PR PRinciPle Five: Evaluation

The fourth step in the RACE process is evaluation.  As PR practitioners, how do we measure our efforts, especially when it comes to social media? This is where media monitoring services come in.

One such service is Radian6.  Based out of New Brunswick, according to their website:

Radian6’s user-friendly web dashboard allows topics to be quickly setup for monitoring, queries and analysis.  Use it to uncover seemingly hidden issues and trends that could affect strategic directions for clients.  Easily share analysis with clients and others to support your recommendations and proposals. 

Radian6 allows PR professionals the ability to monitor all forms of social media including blogs, top video sharing sites, forums, opinion and review sites, image sharing sites, microblogging sites, online mainstream media and other sites as they become available. The process of discovery and collection is a 24/7 process, with data pushed to your dashboard in real-time, as it is captured. Practitioners are able to analysis the data that was collected and share the findings with the given client in various forms. 

There are numerous partnerships with media monitoring companies and PR practitioners.  One example of this is the Toronto-based Social Media Group (SMG).  SMG has recently partnered with Radian6 to provide their clients with what they see as “the best in breed third-party vendors and professional organizations in order to offer maximum value to our network,” according to Maggie Fox.  SMG hopes to use the dashboard for her clients Ford and Yamaha Motors.

Another company that is using Radian6 is Carmichael Lynch (CL). CL is currently utilizing Radian6 with a number of clients and will be rolling it out to additional clients as part of its emerging and social media practice.   CL is an award-winning agency out of Minneapolis.  They help to build brands such as Harley-Davidson, Subaru, Hasbro and many others.  According to CL’s research strategist Herb Sawyer:

For our clients, it isn’t enough to simply track how often various brands are mentioned in social media but how consumers are engaging with these brands. Radian6 provides us with in-depth, real-time analysis by topic or brand and allows us to determine which sites are influencing consumer opinion the most. As a result Carmichael Lynch has the ability to uncover timely strategic insights to help our clients properly position and market themselves both online and off.

So what does this evaluation tool mean to me? As a budding PR practitioner, I see social media monitoring as an important tool for the industry to use when trying to not only establish new clientele, but retain those clients you already have.  Social media is only going to get bigger and evaluating your social media presence can help the client and their organization to join the online community’s conversation with relevant and timely responses. Evaluation through social monitoring lets organizations measure whether their online conversation is being picked-up. 

Monitoring services are an important tool for PR professionals because they help make sense of a chaotic medium.  The internet is inundated with people wanting to share and even push their opinions on others.  Measurement through third party companies like Radian6 show clients, in tangible terms, the results of PR practices, whether they were negative or positive. I believe that with the prevalence of social media in Web 2.0, social media monitoring will no longer be a niche market but a common practice for PR professionals to add to their tool list. 

2 comments March 19, 2008 Camille

PR PRinciPle Four: Communication

The third stage of the RACE process is communication. This stage may seem the most self-evident.  As PR practitioners, communicating is our job.  In going through the first two stages, communicating gets easier once research and actions are done.  When you have a target audience, it is easier to shape your goals and objectives to their needs.  This, in turn, shapes the way you, as a PR professional, communicate to them, especially when it comes to the medium used to get your message out to your audience.

Communications theorist David Berlo outlined a four step model of communication.  These elements include:

  1. Source: the group or person who created the message
  2. Channel: the medium used to convey the message
  3. Message: translating ideas into symbolic code
  4. Receiver: the group or individual the message is targeted to

These steps are important to think about as a communicator in the PR industry.  Communications that go out to the public need to have meaning, accuracy and the “what’s in it for me factor” to get a response from the public the message is directed to.

I wonder if anyone else has any other communication tips to add to Berlo’s list?  

1 comment March 17, 2008 Camille

PR PRinciPle Three: Action

The second stage in the RACE process is Action.  This looks at goals and objectives. I have to admit at first I couldn’t differentiate between the two without the help of my class notes, and even then!  I know that the major difference is that goals are more general, while objectives are more specific.  After that, I’m not sure how to word either of them.  This topic was hard to understand the first time it was presented.

Even when I was completing an in-class assignment, I found actioning my research difficult because I confused both goals and objectives with each other when the class was given a sample Reitman’s case.  Language use was the most complex part of the exercise because the meaning of the objective would change as the verb changed.  The question that I had was if goals need objectives, can objective help to shape goals? Can the process go either way? Goals and objectives are an important part of the RACE model. 

Goals and objectives are part of the Action phase of RACE.  There needs to be an action that the conducted research calls for.  When ever I’m unsure of a term my mom always told me to look in up.  The confusion between goals and objectives lead me to look up both terms.  Goals are defined as the purpose toward which an endeavor is directed; an objective.  It’s synonymous with intentions.  While objectives are defined as something worked toward or striven for; a goal is the reason (purpose) for the action.     

Communications always need to be purposeful.  There is a call to action after the research is conducted, but I found it hard to come up with goals and objectives.  I feel that I need more practice with the exercise.  In a work environment, will I have help in developing goal and objectives, or will I be left to come up with them by myself?  Will there be guidelines or will I have to come up wit those as well?  At the time this topic left me with more questions then answers. Through class discussion, my confusion became calmed and the process became clear.  I felt that I had a limited understanding of the term, but it was through group examples that I realized what the terms actually meant and the difference between the two.  In looking at classmate examples, the differences seemed obvious, making me think, why didn’t I get this before?  When learning I find that I need an example to follow to have a template to go back to. 

I now see why language use is so important.  I t helps to understand the content and the purpose of the action.  The group exercise also helped me see what the job of a communicator is and that communicators can not step on the toes of departments that handle other aspects of the organization’s day-to-day operations.  The test to check for understanding was a great help because I know what I need to work on when I comes to goals and objectives.  As goals are more general in scope, objectives are more specific and measurable (by time or quantity).  

Checking for understanding with a test showed me that I need to practice output and impact.  I need to find more resources for writing understandable communications goals and objectives, so that I will have more practice before I get into a business setting.  With the practice, setting goals and objectives will become easier and my language use will become more defined and taken in more readily. 

The action stage of the RACE process I feel is the hardest to grasp for PR students.  But once you understand this stage, your job becomes so much more focused and deliberate, especially for the target audiences outlined in the research stage.

Add comment March 15, 2008 Camille

PR PRinciPle Two: Research

In the next four posts, I will be looking at the RACE process and PR.  The stages of this process includes:

  1. Research
  2. Action 
  3. Communication
  4.  Evaluation

In my study of communications methods, quantitative was never a problem for me to understand because it was based on numbers and statistics.  But when it came to qualitative, I never seemed to value why we need to understand how people thought and felt because it was hard to quantify.  How do you measure thoughts and feelings?  And an even bigger question to me is, is this important to research? This topic brings me back to my communication studies days at McMaster.  I had to study research methods and a class I had to take was qualitative research methods.  I hated the class to the point that I took it twice and dropped it because I could not stand the content.  A big topic in the class was the study of semiotics.  Defined as the study of signs and symbols as elements of communicative behavior; the analysis of systems of communication, as language, gestures, or clothing.  

Semiotics is broken down into three branches: pragmatics-the study of language and its use; semantics-the study of meaning; syntactics-the formal properties of languages and systems of symbols.  As a communicator language is the core of my business, and language study is important when it comes to messaging, but why have an entire research method based around the intangible. 

I guess I need to get over myself and my non-understanding of qualitative research methods.  It must be important if communications, as a discipline, finds that it is necessary to understand, develop and use when conducting some forms of research.  I still need to accept that qualitative measures, including thoughts, feelings and beliefs, have and effect on messaging.  My question is now shifting from importance to why not use quantified methods?  It gives a researcher hard numerical facts to work with.  That is something tangible, unlike thoughts feelings and beliefs (very intangible).   

Add comment March 13, 2008 Camille

PR PRinciPle One: Ethics

This blog will be looking at the issues that influence Public Relations (PR) and what would constitute PR principles. 

Ethics is an area that needs to be examined when it comes to PR.  Patricia J. Parsons, a professor at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, NS and the author of Ethics in Public Relations: A Guide to Best Practice is considered one of the foremost authorities on ethics and PR.  She finds that there are five basic pillars of public relations ethics.  They are as follows: 

 

Non-maleficence: to do no harm

Beneficence: to do good
Veracity: to tell the truth
Confidentiality: to maintain privacy
Justice: to be fair and socially responsible

These pillars are not just applicable to PR, but to any profession.  Ethics, I feel, is an important principle in PR.  It leads to credibility and this builds a positive reputation.  And isn’t this what PR professionals strive for? 

3 comments February 16, 2008 Camille

Welcome

Hello and thank you for coming to my blog.  I will be posting comments in the near future.

Add comment January 29, 2008 Camille

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