How can multinational companies compare PR results across countries?
Consistency is key. As corporate communications and marketing executives find themselves leading or working on multinational or global teams, they need to be able to talk about PR successes with consistent terminology. They also need to understand, for instance, whether a successful media placement in the U.S. means the same thing as one in China. However, regional differences — from language and what regional PR teams value, to the ways consumers use media from one country to the next — can make consistent global measurement a serious challenge.
Many companies use separate vendors to track media results for each country or region, but without a clearly defined measurement approach, that likely won't yield easy comparisons. The most effective way to achieve consistency is through a single measurement system. The Ketchum Global Research Network (KGRN) recently developed such a system for a client operating in more than 60 countries worldwide. This company previously had invested in ad hoc reporting from various vendors across both regions and business segments before deciding to go with one top-line system.
Because media coverage is always being measured against the same factors, each piece of coverage can be assigned a score that means the same thing in any country.
The top-line system still uses multiple vendors but fewer of them, and now each vendor measures coverage using a single algorithm that KGRN created based on this client's measurement needs. The algorithm includes factors such as tone of coverage, inclusion of spokespeople and presence of key messages. Because media coverage is always being measured against the same factors, each piece of coverage can be assigned a score that means the same thing in any country. And all relevant coverage is translated to English. Cross-country data is housed on a single Web site, and members of the PR team can create customized reports highlighting specific metrics with charts and analysis.
This system is too new to talk about specific results, but at KGRN, we already see it as a valuable model for other international measurement systems. The single-system approach streamlines measurement and eliminates inconsistencies, duplication and overhead associated with multiple vendors, which also reduces costs. The tool can be customized for any client and can measure factors ranging from whether a print article included a photograph to how many conversations are happening online about a given subject. These factors can be applied to monitoring of specific industry topics or to a competitor's coverage. Perhaps most importantly, brands and corporations can use this consistent approach to quickly identify gaps in coverage (regional or otherwise) and to adjust their PR plans accordingly.