The Seven Barcelona Principles (2015)

Measuring the impact of their work is one of the biggest challenges of Communications practitioners. I have seen people in the highest positions of corporate communications falter at the question of measuring the impact of their work. While measurement and evaluation of communications is a long topic for discussion, here is something that might help as universally accepted framework for measuring the performance of your work. As the heading suggests, these points go by the name of The Seven Barcelona Principles.

1. Goal setting and measurement are fundamental to communication and Public Relations
2. Measuring communication outcomes is recommended versus only measuring outputs
3. The effect on organizational performance can and should be measured where possible
4. Measurement and evaluation require both qualitative and quantitative methods
5. AVEs (Advertising Value Equivalents) are not the value of communication
6. Social media can and should be measured consistently with other media channels
7. Measurement and evaluation should be transparent, consistent and valid

Why are these principles useful and relevant?
– These principles can be applied to the larger communication function of any organization, government, company or brand globally. Because measurement, evaluation and goal-setting should be holistic across media and paid, earned, owned and shared channels.
– The Principle encompass the role of qualitative methods, recognizing that the use of qualitative methods (along with quantitative) should be used as appropriate. Advocacy as an outcome can, and should, be measured. Qualitative measures are often needed in order to explain the reason behind the quantitative outcomes.
– Communications impact more than just business results; rather communications can impact the overall performance of an organization. To do this, organizations must have, and practitioners must understand, integrated marketing and communication models. The PR channel does not exist in a silo, nor should PR measures.
– The Principles are a reminder to practitioners that to be truly objective, the focus needs to be on measuring performance, and avoid making assumptions that results will always be positive or successful.
– Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs) measure the cost of media space or time and do not measure the value of PR or communication, media content, earned media, etc.
– The Principles recognize that social media measurement tools have evolved to a point where there is greater potential for consistent measurement on engagement, along with quantity and quality.
– In the spirit of integrity, honesty and openness, the Principles include specific guidance in an effort to ensure quantitative methods are reliable and replicable and qualitative methods are trustworthy.

The Principles were first launched in 2010; the updated version was launched in September 2015 by the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) in London.

[Photo By Mattia Felice Palermo [CC BY-SA 3.0 es (], via Wikimedia Commons]