Features/ Opinions

Why Measurement and Evaluation is necessary for the growth of the PR industry: A Nigerian perspective

Credit: RDZ PR

By: Philip Odiakose

As a PR measurement specialist and thought leader in PR measurement and evaluation in Nigeria, I have had the privilege of witnessing the transformative impact that rigorous measurement and evaluation practices can have on the public relations industry. In Nigeria, where the PR industry faces unique challenges and opportunities, embracing robust measurement and evaluation frameworks is essential for demonstrating value, enhancing the credibility of the profession, and driving sustainable growth. In this article, I will explore why measurement and evaluation are necessary for the growth of the PR industry in Nigeria, supported by relevant case studies from within the country.

Measurement and evaluation are crucial for showcasing the tangible value and return on objectives (ROO) of PR activities. Many clients and stakeholders in Nigeria often view PR as an intangible service with unclear benefits. Effective measurement and evaluation frameworks allow PR professionals to link their efforts directly to organizational goals, such as increased brand awareness, improved reputation, and heightened customer engagement. This substantiation of contributions is vital for securing greater investment and trust from clients and stakeholders.

Take, for instance, the case of a leading Nigerian telecommunications company that launched a nationwide campaign to promote its new data plans. Through meticulous measurement and evaluation done by the team at P+ Measurement Services, the PR team of the brand was able to demonstrate a 25% increase in customer inquiries and a 15% rise in subscriptions within three months. These results, backed by data, convinced the company’s leadership of the campaign’s success and justified further investment in PR initiatives. This example highlights the importance of measurement and evaluation in providing concrete evidence of PR’s impact on business outcomes.

Enhancing credibility and accountability is another significant benefit of measurement and evaluation. In Nigeria’s competitive market, credibility is paramount. Rigorous measurement and evaluation practices provide transparent and verifiable evidence of PR outcomes. This accountability not only builds trust with clients and stakeholders but also positions PR as a strategic function within organizations. When PR professionals can demonstrate the direct impact of their work on business outcomes, they earn a seat at the decision-making table and can influence organizational strategy more effectively.

Consider the example of a Nigerian non-profit organization focused on environmental conservation. The organization ran a campaign to raise awareness about plastic pollution. By employing comprehensive measurement and evaluation, the brand PR team, with the support of the P+ Measurement team, tracked media coverage, social media engagement, and public sentiment. The results showed a significant shift in public awareness and a notable increase in community participation in cleanup activities. These insights were instrumental in securing additional funding and partnerships for future campaigns. This case study underscores the role of measurement and evaluation in enhancing credibility and accountability within the PR industry.

Measurement and evaluation also play a pivotal role in driving strategic decision-making. Data-driven insights enable PR professionals to make informed decisions about their campaigns and initiatives. By analyzing the effectiveness of PR efforts, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and understanding audience behavior, PR practitioners can optimize their strategies, tailor their messaging, and allocate resources more effectively. This iterative process of continuous improvement is essential for achieving sustained success in the dynamic PR landscape.

For example, a Nigerian fintech startup launched a PR campaign to introduce a new mobile payment app. My team(P+ Measurement Services) was engaged to provide PR monitoring, measurement, and evaluation. The brand’s PR team discovered that, while media coverage was extensive, customer engagement was lower than expected. By analyzing feedback and identifying gaps in their messaging, the team refined their approach, resulting in a significant uptick in app downloads and user engagement in the subsequent phase of the campaign. This example illustrates how measurement and evaluation can drive strategic decision-making and enhance the effectiveness of PR efforts.

The digital revolution has transformed the PR industry, introducing new channels, tools, and metrics for engagement. Measurement and evaluation are essential for navigating this complex digital landscape. Digital analytics, social media monitoring, and sentiment analysis provide near-real-time insights into audience interactions and measure the reach and impact of digital campaigns. By leveraging these tools with the support of human analysts, PR professionals in Nigeria can adapt their strategies to stay ahead of emerging trends and ensure that their efforts resonate with their target audiences.

For the Nigerian PR industry to fully realize the benefits of measurement and evaluation, it is important to adopt robust frameworks and best practices. Clear, measurable objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) form the foundation of any effective measurement and evaluation framework. Objectives should align with organizational goals and be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. KPIs should capture both quantitative and qualitative aspects of PR activities, encompassing metrics such as media coverage, sentiment, engagement, and impact on business outcomes.

A comprehensive measurement approach combines both quantitative and qualitative methods. Quantitative methods, such as media monitoring and web analytics, provide numerical data on reach, frequency, and engagement. Qualitative methods, such as surveys, focus groups, and content analysis, offer deeper insights into audience perceptions, message resonance, and brand reputation. By integrating both types of data, PR professionals can obtain a holistic view of PR effectiveness and make more informed strategic decisions.

Ethical considerations are paramount in measurement and evaluation. PR professionals must adhere to ethical standards and best practices, ensuring transparency, accuracy, and integrity in data collection, analysis, and reporting.

This commitment to ethical measurement practices builds trust with clients and stakeholders and upholds the reputation of the PR profession.

One notable example in Nigeria is the case of a major public health campaign aimed at increasing vaccination rates. The campaign faced skepticism from certain segments of the population, driven by misinformation and distrust. Through comprehensive media monitoring, measurement, and evaluation, the PR team was able to track changes in public sentiment, identify key influencers spreading misinformation, and adjust their communication strategies accordingly. By maintaining transparency and ethical standards in their measurement practices, the campaign ultimately succeeded in increasing vaccination rates and building public trust.

For measurement and evaluation to be truly effective, they must be ingrained in the organizational culture. PR agencies and in-house teams should prioritize measurement and evaluation as an integral part of their PR strategies. This involves continuous learning, training, and capacity building to enhance measurement capabilities and keep pace with evolving industry standards.

In conclusion, measurement and evaluation are indispensable for the growth and success of the PR industry in Nigeria. By demonstrating value, enhancing credibility, driving strategic decision-making, and navigating the digital landscape, measurement and evaluation empower PR professionals to elevate their practice and deliver impactful results. As a thought leader in PR measurement and evaluation, I urge the Nigerian PR industry to embrace robust measurement frameworks and ethical standards, fostering a culture of accountability and excellence. By doing so, we can unlock the full potential of PR, drive meaningful change, and contribute to the sustainable growth of our industry.

The examples provided illustrate how measurement and evaluation can be applied in various contexts within the Nigerian PR industry. They highlight the importance of linking PR activities to organizational goals, enhancing credibility, and driving strategic decision-making. Moreover, they demonstrate the necessity of navigating the digital landscape with the help of advanced tools and technologies.

Ultimately, the adoption of robust measurement and evaluation practices will enable PR professionals in Nigeria to prove their value, secure greater investment, and influence organizational strategy more effectively. This, in turn, will drive the growth and success of the PR industry in Nigeria, positioning it as a vital and strategic function within organizations.

Philip Odiakose, Chief Media Analyst and Managing Consultant at P+ Measurement Services and TMKG Consulting

Philip Odiakose is a leader and advocate of PR measurement and evaluation in Nigeria. He is also the Chief Media Analyst at P+ Measurement Services, a member of AMEC

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