One of the benefits of working in a consulting agency rests in our team’s ability to provide an outside perspective for our clients. In fact, from their point of view, that’s often the primary reason they hire us.

Occasionally, we participate in client meetings where a variety of stakeholders cover a wide range of topics, many of which don’t necessarily fall under our scope of work. At those moments, it’s always fascinating to be a fly on the wall and observe the amount of time spent on subjects that – in our experience – are rarely apparent to the key audiences these companies are trying to reach. PR ROI

Brand consistency and brand identify are certainly important in distinguishing you from your competition. They are indeed elements that factor into an overall marketing and business development strategy.

But let’s not forget the forest for the trees in front of us. Are the minute details of where your logo is placed the primary reason why a business or customer wants to partner with you? Many branding discussions focus far too much time on items that won’t move the needle in terms of increasing your company’s bottom line.

Don’t get me wrong. These discussions do have significance and a place in marketing strategic planning. But far too often the differences are evident only to the internal audiences debating the shade and color of the sky in the background of the brochure or advertisement. They in no way help a company attract, convert and retain new business.

How do you measure the aesthetic appeal of light blue vs. ocean blue? It’s purely subjective and provides the illusion of control to a small group of internal participants who come to an agreement on the final coloring arrangement after hours of debate.  Its impact on driving business, however, simply can’t be measured.

That’s why all of our proposals and ongoing client engagements emphasize ways our collaboratively agreed upon activities can provide ROI.

WordWrite’s multi-level approach to measurement and analysis is derived from industry best practices. We begin with the accepted industry standard that distinguishes the three types of target audience responses created by your communications efforts: Outputs, outtakes and outcomes.

An example of an output would be the creation of a press release, byline article or op-ed piece, as well as a story idea pitched to an appropriate journalist. Outputs can be measured almost as soon as they are created. For example, did you communicate the message accurately? Did it get to the media contact it was intended to reach? Was it distributed within the agreed upon timeframe?

Outtakes begin to focus more on results in the near and midterm – perhaps as far as sixPR ROI months away. Did the press release, byline or op-ed make it into the media outlet where it was sent? Did the interview we arranged for one of the company’s thought leaders make it into the article or story as planned? In terms of demonstrating value, we can at this point in time then assess whether the messages you’re trying to communicate to key target audiences are being articulated in a manner that impacts the positive portrayal of your company and its story.

In addition, during this phase, journalists will start returning to you for additional insights because the messages your thought leaders are communicating are resonating with both the targeted reporters and – by proxy – the audiences you’re trying to reach.

The final way clients can assess our value takes the form of even more tangible outcomes.  Within six months to a year, did our work together on strategic communications or inbound marketing campaigns directly result in a new business lead, prospect meeting or a new client? Have prospects and qualified sales leads reached out to your organization for its guidance and expertise because your increased visibility and articulation of key messages have permeated the spaces where they consume media and subsequently make purchasing decisions?

Is this the only way to measure success for PR efforts? Of course not, but we believe it’s the best way. It provides a clear roadmap for clients in terms of what we’re trying to accomplish together and how we plan to get there. Unless, of course, you’d rather spend your valuable time debating at which level of magnification an image in your mailer starts to distort. If your clients and customers don’t care about that type of thing, then why exactly should you?