How do you measure a relationship?

palms.jpgMy head’s swimming after sitting through nearly 20 short presentations on PR research here at the IPR in Miami. I won’t try to report on all of it. Too much info over too short a time. I’ll get back to you after I read the papers.

It’s always refreshing to spend a day surrounded by folks who are smarter than you are. It expands your knowledge and adds to your worldview. The folks at this conference, most of them PR researchers at universities from around the world, are using their skills and scholarship to make our profession more effective and more relevant to the organizations we represent. Noble work, I’d say, and they’re having fun doing it.

One theme did come through, and that theme was measurement.

I heard Brad Rawlins from Brigham Young describe his research that’s attempting to measure “transparency.” No small task, as I believe he said the study considers 13 variables. OK, maybe it was 11, but you get the idea. Heady stuff, and oh-so relevant in this social-media age where trust seems to trump everything else.

This morning, Candace White, U of Tennessee, talked about her study that measures how people perceive and are likely to act toward companies they see as pro-environment. It’ll be of interest to all who are considering “green marketing.” Don Wright from Boston U talked of a study that measures employer perceptions of employee blogging.

Tomorrow I’ll be on the spot, along with my colleague Jeanette Drake, as we present the results of our blog research — something regular readers of at this site already know about from this post, and this one.

Not surprisingly, PR measurement guru Katie Paine challenged us to get really serious about measuring social media. She’s concerned that automated blog tracking only captures “messages” through key words. Blog-tracking software can’t measure “tone,” and it doesn’t track comments. Blog monitoring, she said, needs a human touch if we hope to get a true measure of the relationship.

I was pleased to meet Katie, having been a fan of her blog for some time. Was also happy to meet Constantin Basturea, one I consider the king of the PR blogosphere and perhaps the profession’s greatest resource person on the topic of social media.

Will you hear from me tomorrow? Not sure. I mean, there’s other stuff to do here in Miami, eh?


4 Responses to How do you measure a relationship?

  1. “How do you measure a relationship?”

    Divorce law actually has pretty clear metrics in that regard.

    – Amanda

  2. Alexis says:

    I’m glad someone else is talking about transparency. As I was researching the issue I had a lot of trouble finding information on the topic. It seems that though a lot of people seem concerned with transparency there isn’t a lot of information out there.

  3. Well.. what do we know about relationships. In ‘Towards Relationship Mzanagement’ (JCM) last year I thought I made it clear it is not as simple as we believe but critical for PR to understand.
    The convergence of values concept is at least provable.

  4. Alexis try ‘Online Public Relations’ Kogan Page 2001.

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