For the past year, Metric Monday has focused on metrics that matter for communication and PR professionals through specific measures of inputs, outputs and outcomes across a range of industries.
In this next series, our attention turns from “what” we measure to “how” we measure.
So if you’re back in the era of focus groups, content analysis and paper surveys, it’s time for a refresh and a look at the new and emerging research methods available to communicators.
New ways to measure:
From Fitbits to the Apple Watch, Google glasses, smart clothes and jewellery, wearable devices are transforming the way research is carried out.
The most exciting development is that wearables are allowing communicators to join the customer research journey early in the process, giving time to focus on the whys behind the behaviours we are aiming to change instead of the whats.
For example, smart fitness devices can provide data on daily activities, heart rates, and sleep patterns. Smart watches can track media usage. They can also help to discover where someone was before and after he or she visited your bank, outlet or organisation, as well as how much time was spent in each place.
Beyond the wearables data, you can gain qualitative insights by asking relevant questions at the end of each day or week through any form of SMS, text, or email.
Collecting this data in this way offers advantages for respondents and researchers.
For respondents, the experience is seamless and unobtrusive – no long surveys to take, no fatigue, and no chance of having a fuzzy memory and incorrectly reporting their actions.
For researchers, wearables provide research without “doing” research saving time and money and providing a high level of accuracy.
As with all research, it’s important to consider the privacy concerns surrounding this type of passive data collection, but many consumers are growing more comfortable with the idea of granting access to some of their data in exchange for a benefit – perhaps a free wearable device.
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If money makes the world go around, then financial communication is about sharing the money story.
According to research by Ernst & Young, financial stakeholders are seeking the cohesive story about company performance and some are better at telling a clear story than others.
According to one respondent, “Companies are putting out more and more information — more dots, if you will.
But not all are good at helping us connect the dots.”
How well is that story told and what are the impacts?
Metrics for financial communication and investor relations provide insight into this question depending on which part of the story you are seeking to understand – the efficiency of those writing it; the effectiveness of the delivery of it; or the effect on the audiences receiving it.
Effect on the audiences receiving the finance story
The impact on the audiences receiving the finance story is the ultimate assessment of the performance of financial communication.
Typical metrics include:
- Investor perception studies exploring
– What is resonating with investors?
– Is the strategy clear and carrying the confidence of investors?
– How were direct management interactions received?
– What relative importance do investors attach to specific company initiatives and objectives?
– Are there any disconnects between what the company is saying and what the institutional investment community is hearing?
- Post road show feedback reporting (quantitative and qualitative)
- Relationships with the financial community measured through relationship strength and/or reputation indices.
Effectiveness of the delivery of the finance story
How well the finance story is delivered can be understood through audience research and tracked through a range of qualitative and quantitative measures including:
- Quality of investor meetings (eg. management rank of meeting post-exit)
- Quality of investor conference participation
- Quality of investor relations website and capabilities
- Quality of the financial community presentation deck
- Achievement of external recognition awards
- Mentions of financial key messages
- Tone of financial media coverage
- Influencer commentary
Efficiency of those writing the finance story
Efficiency metrics focus on how well resources are used to tell the finance story with performance against targets in areas such as:
- Endorsement of annual financial communication plan
- Alignment of financial communication with corporate strategy key messages
- Accuracy of financial media releases and investor communication
- Turnaround time for financial communications (eg. media releases, presentations, speeches)
- On-time delivery of financial communications
- Frequency of direct interactions with key media and influencers
- Responsiveness to financial media enquiries.