Strawberry - Communication Dividend

Why Business metrics and Comm/PR metrics are like strawberries and cream

June 3, 2016
So, I bet that headline got your tummy grumbling as you thought of your favourite, rich, vanilla bean infused ice cream together with sweet, delicious strawberries. Ah, is there a better combo? I’m sure you can think of so many more delicious flavour combinations but I’m sure my headline also left you a little puzzled.

As a professional working in Communication/PR, it might be a tough sell to ask you to imagine Business metrics and anything to do with measuring Communication/PR. Most of the professionals I encounter working in either field, don’t quite understand just how important it is to combine Business metrics and Communication/PR metrics.

Here’s the thing, those of you who tend to love words, probably feel a little queasy  when you think of having to work on an Excel spreadsheet or look into chunks of data. The moment you stop fearing numbers, is the moment you’ll start to realise that they can lead to rewards.

Unfortunately, as much as we’d like to think otherwise, businesses run according to bottom lines. Profit and loss. Black and red. In other words, it doesn’t matter how many media releases you send out, blogs you churn through, social media updates you whip up or however else you spend your time in the office. Until you can prove the value and worth of your activity, it’s destined to gain little attention from  organisational decision makers. Activity without a larger purpose, is merely activity.

Think about your colleagues working in other departments. How do they prove their value to the company you work for and show what they do is actually making a positive difference to the organisation’s bigger goals? Reports and hard statistics. While words can often be thought of as fluffy and a little airy-fairy, numbers never lie. They are absolute and definite. In other words, until you begin to present management and your colleagues with proof as to how your Communication/PR Strategy links and has a positive impact on the company’s overall Business Strategy, you’re likely to be playing second fiddle to others.

Where should you begin when looking to devise reports that will prove why you’re invaluable to your company? I’ve worked with numerous companies over three decades and in each case, I’ve found Communication/PR files that are rich with data. Find simple ways to collect and make sense of the data you’ve got on-hand and if you need to ask for help, don’t be scared to. In any working environment, we all need to acknowledge our weaknesses and if counting happens to be one of yours, enlist the help of a colleague who loves numbers and collecting data.

Once you change your attitude towards numbers, you’ll see how they can lead you to success. If you feel as though your opinions are falling on deaf ears or that the amount of extra hours you dedicate to your role isn’t being appreciated, do something different. By doing things as you always have, you’re going to get the same results. It’s time to shake things up and embrace numbers. Just as you embrace them as part of your everyday life – your mobile phone number, your address, your pay, your home loan, that end of financial year sale you’re waiting for… take a good look around you. We’re all surrounded by numbers!

I’ve made a list of 3 simple ways you can use numbers to improve your department:

  1. Count what’s coming in – your budget is an easy one.
  2. Count what’s going out – production costs, printing and people.
  3. Look for patterns over time – generally speaking, numbers that are going up are great and anything heading in a downward spiral, needs to be looked at fairly quickly.

Once you start seeing how numbers can benefit you as a Communication/PR professional, you’ll start to think of words and numbers just like you think of strawberries and cream. A combination to look forward to and enjoy!

The Communication Dividend is here to help dedicated Communication/PR specialists like you to make sense of numbers. It makes numbers easy to interpret. How? This cutting edge measurement and evaluation tool is made by Communication/PR professionals, for Communication/PR professionals.

Take your career to the next level by learning more here. You’d be amazed at how impressed your boss will be that you’ve taken a leap towards making your department and team accountable.

By Deb Camden