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.