PR is dead. Long live PR.

Traditional PR tactics are struggling. Building positive perceptions of a brand in a digital world can no longer be done with the same approach, where decision makers are digital natives and brands need to be thinking ahead with markets moving at a lightning pace.

Firing out press releases is finished. Waiting for print runs is passé.  Traditional media is treading water as digital zooms by in a speedboat.

The Sun may have one of the largest readerships in the UK estimated at 3,000,000+ but its own digital monthly readership is in excess of 80,000,000!

So, what killed this traditional PR approach? The inability to prove who you were actually speaking to.

Traditional PR measures like column inches, reach, share of voice, and all that jazz are often based on guess work and have little relevance to a digital approach. Viewer figures and circulation numbers that media companies and publishers use to tempt your precious PR budgets from you are the same.

Some would call these vanity metrics. They may look good on paper but none of them actually prove any impact on brand perception – the whole point of PR.

Some more modern metrics have stuck their hand in the air for consideration, but they still fall short.

AVE – Advertising Value Equivalent – has become a popular measure but it’s still based on those approximate viewer figures or circulation numbers and an amount of money someone else is willing to spend for ad space.

Any seemingly impressive “ROI” figure is at best loosely accurate based on estimates of readership and no real reflection of the value of your brand and PR activity.

It’s these assumptions that have hampered traditional PR in proving its value and paved the way for digital PR to take its place.

With digital PR comes a mass of more responsive, more targeted and more agile channels and approaches that have significantly increased the opportunity for PR to have real impact and shape brand perception. But with every new opportunity comes challenge.

PR now can’t be a standalone activity. It needs to be completely integrated, working in sync with all your other digital marketing activity across SEO, Content and Social to build a consistent picture of a brand and develop valuable conversations with digitally savvy customers.

That synchronization across multiple digital channels means we’re awash with stats for visits, dwell times, clicks, likes, follows, shares and an untold number of others, and that’s no bad thing.

These stats all have much more value than those traditional PR measures as they help to understand the value of activity across your digital channels but the challenge of proving any favourable change in brand perception is still there.

These metrics measure the opportunity to communicate your brand’s message but they don’t measure the effectiveness of communicating your brand’s message.

To measure this effectiveness of communication there is still the need to find a repeatable metric that can be used to measure the penetration of your brand message over time.

Taking inspiration from Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Net Value Score (NVS) Red Hot Penny have created a trackable metric to measure brand perception called Brand Value Score (BVS).

Brand Value Score determines exactly how people perceive a brand and helps our clients directly assess the impact of all their integrated digital marketing activity.

Scores are calculated through direct engagement with customers and can be aggregated over time, across any market segments or demographic, to understand exactly how a variety of factors – including your PR activity – directly influence brand perception.

To find out how you can discover your own BVS and be able to link PR to a directly relevant and measurable metric just get in touch.

For more of our thoughts on the future of PR take a look at our blog post here, or to see how we’ve helped some of our PR clients take a look at the case studies for Vector Watch and Crabtree & Evelyn.

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