It’s a big wide world out there, and sometimes things get confusing when you cross borders. The following quick tips on international communications measurement can’t take the place of actual international measurement experience, but they will get you off to a good start. Bon chance!
- Never offer an X solution for a Y problem. Fill in the X with whatever country you are reading this in, and the Y for whatever geography you’re trying to measure in. You can have a global set of metrics by which your efforts are measured, but make sure it can be tailored to individual countries, areas, or regions. So, for example, you’ll want to measure the percentage of articles containing one or more key messages, not the specific messages, since they will invariably differ by language and culture.
- Make sure everyone agrees on a standard set of terminologies. A mention may mean something very different in Portugal than it does in France (watch this video to learn the implications).
- Don’t underestimate the effort (or cost) of international measurement systems. “Europe” is not one country, it is 50—and they use 23 different officially-recognized languages. So, if you are paying $20K a year for your U.S. analysis, you can’t just “add Europe” for another $20k. You’ll need to establish clear parameters about which countries and media sources get included, and why.
- Don’t ever compare results between countries. Each country has its own culture and its own customs for dealing with the media. So, unless you want war to break out in your board room, don’t draw comparisons between countries.
- Whenever possible, have your earned media items read by native speakers located in their respective countries. Many measurement services use ex-pats as readers. But unless they stay in close and regular touch with home, and are on top of current local trends, culture, and social mores, they may not pick up on all the right sentiment and messages.
- Monitor your filters and search terms very, very carefully. Acronyms and brand names are frequently used differently in other countries. Your new product name may well be the name of the most popular new K-pop band (it happened to me!) and totally skew your results.
For more details on how to set up global measurement program read this excellent IPR paper by Mike Daniels and Angela Jeffrey. And if you’d like some personalized help in setting up your international communications measurement program from someone with decades of experience, give me a call (603-682-0735) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s talk.