News & Insights

6/03/2020

Favourable news coverage is not a ‘great outcome’ – so let’s stop calling it thatby Eric Robledo

I’ve decided to start this blogpost with a cranky headline. Much like Dr Bruce Banner before turning into The Hulk in the first Avengers movie, I will also let you in on my secret: despite not showing it, I am always angry… whenever I hear someone call news coverage “a great outcome”. It’s not… And calling it that can cause us to drift away from our objectives.



Don’t get me wrong, favourable news coverage does make me happy, especially whenever my team and I have been working hard to attain this. My point is the outcome of our PR strategy and activities – the actual communication outcome – is something that can’t be seen in any news coverage analysis. Positive coverage does not automatically mean positive reputation. That is a far-fetched assumption, especially if we’re only looking at earned media to asses reputation. To understand the outcomes of our campaigns, we must look beyond.

To begin with, communication happens not when news is published or advertising is displayed, but when our target market reads or listens to what we say or is said about us, and when they understand, accept or respond to the stories that involve us. Likewise, it also happens when we listen, understand, accept or respond to the messages from our target audience – that is, if we accept the notion of stakeholder capitalism. 

But even if we are still passionately attached to the old paradigm of shareholder capitalism, where the sole role of PR is to persuade a target market to think or act in a desired way about a brand or product, the real communication outcome can mostly be observed through market research, using techniques such as surveys, focus groups and in-depth interviews, among others, not by running news coverage analyses and making fancy-looking graphs with the clips achieved.

This approach to measurement and evaluation has been proposed by the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) since the publication of the Barcelona Principles in 2010 (updated in 2015), and more recently, with the appearance in 2016 of the Integrated Communications Measurement Framework. The framework distinguishes between Objectives (SMART ones), Output (our story and messages communicated to our target audience), Out-takes (immediate reaction of our audience and information recall of a story, organisation or product) and Outcomes (effects in the attitudes, opinion and behaviour of our audience towards a story, organisation or product). At least a version of this is worth considering for structuring an integrated communications program or campaign.



Let’s go back for a minute to the fancy-looking graphs. To clarify, these graphs with news coverage segmented by prominence, favourability, audience, reach, themes, message cut-through, visual impact, etc. do have a role, an important one even. They help us to stir a program in different directions if needed, and they might even be useful for generating KPIs. But if we’re aiming to have in place a sound strategy across all media with measurable communication objectives that can aid the organisation’s business goals, it’s critical to consider news coverage for what it is – which is, output, not outcome.

It’s also important to note for anyone that made it this far down in this cranky blogpost that a clear taxonomy of concepts is not an end in itself. The ultimate benefit of referring to news coverage for what it is is that it allows us to look at the big picture, which is first and foremost, our communication objectives. What is it that we’re trying to do? Is it increasing brand awareness among a specified segment of the market from 10% to 15% in the next 12 months? Is it to replace A for B as the most associated brand attribute, assuming A will help the organisation to increase leads or conversions? Is it to decrease from 20% to 15% the percentage of people who are currently not considering buying our products in the near future? Is it to lower from 60% to 20% in three years the amount of people with a specific misperception about our organisation and its services? All these are examples of the right questions to ask whenever communicational objectives are discussed and agreed on in writing.

Only once these communication objectives have been achieved, can we truly say that our integrated program across all media teams has jointly achieved a “very good outcome”.

Stay Connected

If you wish to stay connected to Honner and receive future blogs, simply enter your email address below.

Subscribe
Filter by :

Latest News And Insights

Honner Blog 14/03/2018

Essential ingredients of persuasive writing – It’s all Greek to me

Persuasive writing can be a powerful force that transforms readers them into paying customers, advocates or partners. Luckily there are a few timeless principles that anyone can employ to improve their technique. For starters, we can learn a few things from the ancient Greeks.

READ MORE   >

Honner Blog 9/03/2018

Purpose is now a comms must-have, but it’s got to ring true to label

When it comes to publicising purpose, corporate organisations need to tread carefully in order to appear authentic.

READ MORE   >

Honner Blog 1/03/2018

When, if ever, should you ask a journalist for a correction?

The media can dictate the public image of your company, for better or worse. Imagine the latter and consider: is it appropriate to ask for a correction?

READ MORE   >

Honner Blog 22/02/2018

Chris Cuffe covers all things investment and super at a recent Women in Super event

From the merits of the default superannuation system to the role of artificial intelligent, finance industry guru Chris Cuffe fielded questions on a host of issues at a recent Women in Super lunch in Sydney. Honner General Manager Susie Bell was there and shares an account of some of the main topics.
 

READ MORE   >

Honner Blog 16/02/2018

5 ways to kick-start your PR career

Public Relations is a constantly evolving industry and an exciting space to be in. For those like our grad Rebecca who are just starting out, here are five top tips for starting a career in PR.

READ MORE   >

Honner Blog 1/02/2018

It’s a Wrap – Honner’s quarterly media roundup (Q417)

Change continues apace in the Australian media industry. Rupert Murdoch’s deal to sell most of 21st Century Fox is set to transform the media industry, and Facebook’s changes to its news feed recipe have sent publishers and brands back to the strategy table. And that’s just the start. In our Honner quarterly media roundup, we bring you a wrap of the latest industry news, insights and quotable quotes.

READ MORE   >

Honner Blog 18/01/2018

How to make your thought leadership stand out

In a hyper-competitive environment, thought leadership can be a great way to build your brand and attract new customers. Here are three steps to developing a successful thought leadership program.

READ MORE   >

Honner Blog 11/01/2018

Gaining perspective on the PR industry: London exchange

Our Senior Account Manager Eric Robledo spent a week in London with our partner agency Lansons. Read five takeouts from his experience.

READ MORE   >

Honner Blog 21/12/2017

The need for radical transparency in an age of mistrust

As news of the royal commission into the financial services sector slips from the front pages, it’s worth taking a breath to consider how the sector as a whole can best respond to the very real challenges the inquiry will bring in 2018.

READ MORE   >

Honner Blog 19/12/2017

ASFA does it again

The 2017 ASFA Conference coincided with the announcement of a Royal Commission into Financial Services Sector. It is no surprise trust and brand were key themes to emerge throughout the conference. Here’s a quick wrap up from our time among delegates, presenters and media.

READ MORE   >

Displaying results 31-40 (of 102)
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10