Finding an AVE alternative

Our PR Strategy cover story sparked plenty of debate on how to tap into the true value of PR. Read the feature at, and extracts of reader comments below:

As marketing/PR professionals we’ve become obsessed about proving our worth. Instead we should be demonstrating our value.
If a board doesn’t think that marketing and PR adds real value I don’t think any data is going to change that perception – it all seems open to interpretation.
Neil Cooper

Public relations isn’t defined by media. Media relations isn’t a synonym for PR. So we must not confuse AMEC’s important work with PR measurement and evaluation in its entirety; it is an important component.

Second, I don’t believe that we will have something as “readily understandable” as AVE, if only because AVE was so simple (albeit utterly wrong). Measurement is critical but difficult. How you measure is as unique as the organisation in question, its marketplace, its vision, objectives, strategy and tactics.

If two hypothetical organisations ran the same media relations campaign and got identical output results (eg, ‘column inches’), the outcome (value) will be different because the organisations are different.
Philip Sheldrake

I have searched the article looking for the outcome-based measurement promised in the lead paragraph, but seem to have missed it and read the same article on breakthroughs in PR measurement that has been doing the rounds for circa 20 years.
Is using a score-based on circulation and prominence somehow different to an AVE?
Matthew West

Back in 2010 the PR profession united behind a set of principles that clearly state AVE is not a measure of PR value. Accordingly, the CIPR published guidance for members, which included a toolkit that focused on research, planning and evaluation including guidance on social media, the financial value of PR and looking beyond outputs to evaluate outcomes.

We shouldn’t be looking to ‘replace AVEs with another standardised approach. And as Philip Sheldrake has said previously, measurement is critical but difficult, and is unique to your organisation.

Fundamentally we need to educate the profession and the wider business community (procurers of PR), to understand that measurement can do much more – in pre-campaign planning and post-campaign analysis, and as a means of providing competitive insights and other commercially useful information. PR can be measured, but there are no magic bullets.
Andy Ross (Chartered Institute of Public Relations)

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