Any time you get a group of PR and comms people talking about reputation the conversation rightly swings to measurement. We know reputation is important to the C-suite and we know that to really impact the boardroom we need to get measurement right. Since reputation is really what others think and say about you – the big question for me is how do you measure an idea?
Looking at PRCAs recent in-house benchmarking report, the section on strategy and evaluation have much of the usual measurement suspects. From those big, unrealistic numbers that measure reach to stakeholder surveys, which are generally a temperature check of a moment in time. Or the rather nebulous ‘advertising value equivalent’ so loved (ok loathed really) of the PR world. Do all of these really give you an accurate picture of what others think and say about you on an ongoing basis, or are they the best we can do at the moment?
With great strides in reputation management and technology, how will technology help measure sentiment and the semantics of an idea against your stated organisational objectives – which is really what reputation boils down to, isn't it? That people (or more specifically your stakeholders) think and say about you, what you think and say about yourself?
It will be interesting to see who comes in and solves the issue of reputation measurement and how. We are seeing more people from an organisational risk background stepping in offering automated solutions tracking that something is being said – the next step is measuring what is being said and scoring it so you can put an accurate number on reputation - and ensuring it is adopted widely so we don't get into the inability to compare like vs like.
Ultimately, measuring reputation determines are your messages landing, being repeated and being trusted. It is simply the idea of who you are that needs to be measured.
Various interest groups regularly shout loudly about needing to protect society from evil corporations who only have profit as their purpose. So, to protect us innocents we must stop all advertising and regulate, regulate, regulate. (And tax – but that chestnut is for another time.)
So, what does that do to marketing? One thing I often wondered is if regulations stifled, or enhanced creativity. Made you a lazy, or a brilliant marketer. I have to hedge. A bit of both…
Lazy by blaming the regulations for not being able to do something, for looking at the regulations as black and white – when in reality, they are often variations of grey. For not taking risks or being bold – for not questioning. Mostly though, for simply not having a view, not realising the role your brand plays in society and to stand for something.
So, what are the opportunities to do truly brilliant work? How can you cut through the chatter when you are in an industry that is monitored so closely, often by people who simply do not believe you have the right to market your products?
The opportunity for brilliance can come from the growing discussion about purpose based marketing. Taking your brand purpose back to basics and articulate what kind of society you want to be a part of. What do you stand for and what is the role your brand has in society.
We know that year on year trust is going down for brands and advertising. We are in this very interesting state of people wanting to block advertising, but also wanting to converse with brands. Hating advertising, but hating having to pay for digital services more. So, the debate about brilliant content continues..
Marketers from all industries can learn a lot from how alcohol is marketed and for alcohol marketers - a reminder to go back to understanding what the regulations were put in place to do – reduce the harm from drinking. Reduce young people drinking and people drinking to excess.
Lazy marketing is getting caught up in the detail of the regulations. That is what the anti-alcohol / anti-marketing lobby want you to do. Brilliance will be remembering your role in society and having a voice that you support what the regulations are trying to achieve and to play your part.