This year marks the 25-year-anniversary of the IPR Measurement Commission. Founded in 1997, the mission of the Commission is to develop and promote standards and best practices for research, measurement, and analytics that contribute to ethical, strategic, and effective public relations. In recognition of this important milestone, I’d like to highlight 10 reasons to celebrate the Commission:
1.) All of its thought leadership is available for FREE on the IPR website
2.) Some of its timeless white papers describe topics such as its primer on public relations research and how to differentiate between outputs, outtakes, and outcomes; setting measurable PR objectives; measuring public relationships; market mix modeling; and the Big Data revolution.
3.) Various Commissioners contributed to the initial development of the Barcelona Principles, championed and developed research standards, and authored the Dictionary of Public Relations Measurement and Research.
4.) A scrappy and intentionally diverse group, the Commission is comprised of international thought leaders and innovators from four segments: (1) corporations, government, and non-profits; (2) public relations agencies; (3) research firms; and (4) academia.
5.)Its Measuring Up video series consists of interviews with Commissioners about lessons learned in research, measurement, and evaluation.
6.) Research pioneers Katie Paine, Mark Weiner, and Don Wright, Ph.D. were among some of the first members of the Commission and still serve today.
7.) The past five recipients of the Jack Felton Medal for Lifetime Achievement are or were IPR Measurement Commissioners. All five Commissioners—Don Stacks, Ph.D., Mark Weiner, Katie Paine, Allyson Hugley, and Johna Burke—have demonstrated a commitment to using applied research to drive impactful communications programs.
8.) Commissioners routinely amplify and engage with public relations practitioners about knowledge and best practices in research and measurement at conferences, presentations, and IPR Master Classes.
9.) The IPR’s Don Bartholomew Award for Excellence in Public Relations Research is named in honor of the late Don Bartholomew, a Measurement Commissioner who developed and championed public relations metrics, much of what he described in his influential blog, MetricsMan.
10.) Its most recent co-authored publication The Communicator’s Guide to Research, Analysis, and Evaluation describes how we can use research, measurement, and evaluation to show the effectiveness of communication initiatives and how public relations add value.
While reflecting on the Commission’s accomplishments over the past 25 years, it’s equally exciting to imagine its future. Technology and data continue to transform contemporary public relations practice, enabling practitioners to respond to complex problems and opportunities using real-time data. Practitioners are using artificial intelligence and other technological developments for social media listening, environmental scanning, crisis communication, combatting disinformation and misinformation, audience segmentation, influencer, and journalistic outreach, content creation, and more. It’s no longer sufficient for communicators to measure and evaluate what happened. The key is to use data to predict what will happen.
The Measurement Commission is currently working on projects that relate to this digital transformation. For example, some Commissioners are writing a guide that describes how communicators can set up a measurement and analytics team. The Commission’s two most recent roundtables discussed how to best align online and offline data and recommendations for educating and training practitioners in research and data analytics. Our upcoming November 2022 roundtable will feature how to best measure earned media in the changing media ecosystem.
Here’s to the next 25 years!
Julie O’Neil, Ph.D., APR, is currently chair of the IPR Measurement Commission. She’s a Professor of Strategic Communication and Associate Dean for Research and Administration at the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at Texas Christian University.