Analytics is reshaping every industry and PR is no exception
Author is Gurdeep Kaur, Founder, Director, HighViz PR
A lot has been said and written about the rapid evolution of Indian media/audience and the need for Public Relations (PR) industry to stay abreast. While we often hear terms like ‘audience mapping’, ‘content customization’, and ‘speed of communication’, there is not much advice on ‘how’ to do this. As PR agencies look for ways to differentiate themselves amid cut-throat competition, analytics is something expensive to ignore. It adds that missing ‘edge’ over the mundane cold calling (read: shooting in the air) that the PR professionals are ill-reputed for. Here are some day-to-day PR aspects which can be reinvented by introducing and implementing analytics:
Know your audience: No PR professional ever denied the importance of audience mapping. However, in absence of analytics, it is always a guessing game. A combination of social and traditional media listening and analysis tools helps PR professionals better understand their audiences through demographics, trending topics, sentiment analysis, and behavioural patterns across platforms (positive, negative, neutral,) across platforms and bring predictability to this game. Predictability in audience mapping means that brands can design their PR campaigns more effectively and limit their risk while deciding the budgets.
Know your competition: As we design PR campaigns backed by scientific evidence, factoring in the competition is important. Merely looking at your competitors’ campaigns and measuring the media share of voice may be a limited approach. The need is to deep dive into the campaign objective, target audience; short, mid, and long-term strategy, and business impact. The mandate for future PR agencies is to come up with new age frameworks for competition mapping. These frameworks need to be flexible and evolve as per the need of every brand. This will enable brands to stay a step ahead of the competition.
Crisis Response: Every brand comes across its moments of PR crisis. However, this is also the time when PR agency’s mettle is tested. The agency not only needs to move with speed but also efficacy, as there is no second chance. Analytics enables situation analysis, media and consumer response, speed and tone of ongoing conversations, so that right crisis response strategy can be implemented. It also allows real time reporting topped with inferences so that the strategy can be modified according to the latest developments. Shining in a crisis time also means securing the client trust forever. Therefore, every success story needs to be documented and presented (with measurable impact) to potential clients or internal stakeholders. Once again, analytics plays a significant role in agency’s own branding.
The list does not end here. Analytics can do much more for the PR industry. However, the industry is still exploring the viable analytics models. The key is not to wait for any ready to use solutions but devise solutions based on qualitative as well as quantitative analysis and start experimenting with it. The solution will become more effective with learnings over a period of time. PR agencies have done a remarkable job to highlight the importance of analytics for different industries. It is about time they start leveraging it for their own good.