Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement – a report

I finally found some time to translate the report with my research, „Opinions of Polish PR specialists on PR measurement” (realized for the purpose of my doctor’s thesis) to English. Just to remember: I did this research in January 2011. Because there is no one general database of PR specialists in Poland and I do not have access to any database of industry portals, I send my request to fill the questionnaire to subscribers of Polish industry mailing list, InternetPR.pl. I received 99 answers, which I qualified to further analysis.

Photo taken from sxc.hu website

Key findings:

  • 91% of researched PR specialists use media relations as the PR tool and media content analysis is regarded by 70% of researched as the research method which gives the most detailed information. It may show the „mediocentric” character of public relations in Poland – understanding public relations mainly as media relations
  • Majority of the researched – 96% – consider, that planning PR activities in form of a PR strategy is necessary.
  • The researched PR specialists acknowledge that use of research is not sufficient in following parts of PR process defined by the author as initial analysis, strategy, implementation and evaluation. The biggest portion of the researched – nearly 90% – pointed out, that research use is not sufficient in PR evaluation, then – in initial analysis – nearly 70%, then – in creating PR strategy – 60% and during PR activities implementation – nearly 50%.
  • The researched PR specialists do not have detailed knowledge on methods and techniques. The most frequently mentioned barrier for PR measurement was „lack of knowledge, how to measure the PR results”. 60% of the researched have chosen this answer.
  • PR specialists taking part in the research had problems with unambiguous evaluation of media content analysis as the research technique. The distribution of answers for this questions varied a lot and „other” category was selected more frequently than in case of the other questions. There were also answers such as „content analysis allows both to check quality of press coverage and estimate the reaction of target groups”, which is not compliant with methodological knowledge (impossibility to assess reaction of target groups is one of weaknesses of media content analysis).
  • In case of Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) 62% of the researched acknowledged, that „the technique is not authoritative – PR and advertising activities are not the same, so they cannot be measured with the same measure” and 35% – that „it allows to easily present to management (clients) the value of PR work performed”. In turn, 3% of the researched selected the option „other” and wrote „it shows the value of the PR specialist work, but is not authoritative”, combining both answers from the questionnaire. It may show that PR specialists are using AVE despite they being conscious of its disadvantages.
  • Research results show, that the researched do not know standards of PR measurement, and – at the very least – treat them very casually. It is confirmed by a very big portion of the researched (18%), who consider the practice of setting expected number of pieces of press coverage is acceptable, even though Polish Code of Ethics for PR practitioners introduced by The Polish PR Association[2] forbids it.
  • Public relations image, according to the research participants, is negative – nearly 60% of them say so. Asked for reasons, most often they singled out „the lack of the consciousness in the society” (63% of participants, who have chosen the „negative” option). Only 12% of participants, who have chosen the negative option, consider not using PR measurement as the cause of negative PR image, 7% – „lack of education what public relations are” and 7% – „small goods of public relations as the academic discipline”.

You can find the whole report on my profile on Slideshare:

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