Burson-Marsteller boss: Clients must be encouraged to move away from equivalency as a PR measure


Jones, Brett, Brown and Ziavini onstage at CommsCon

Australian public relations agencies are ahead of some of their global counterparts when it comes to PR measurement but agencies must continue to educate clients on the need to move on from the traditional advertising value equivalency (AVE) model, Burson-Marsteller CEO Christine Jones told an audience in Sydney.

Speaking at today’s CommsCon conference on the topic of PR measurement, Jones disputed the notion that Australia is behind the rest of the world and needs to catch up.

“I think Australian thinking and capability is way ahead,” she said.

“We should be proud of the quality of our work and the way we measure it. We can only take our clients on a journey so far, if that’s the measurement they want (AVEs), we give it.”

Managing director of Bang PR Annalise Brown was in agreement, saying: “Our industry is further ahead then some of our global counterparts.

“I know when we’re talking to some of the industry they are saying usually they have to use AVEs because they’re part of a global account group and they’re being measured as something that’s either regionally or globally led and in fact local clients are more interested in a more robust measurement program.”

On a new system she said: “There is no one silver bullet.”

Advertising value equivalency compares editorial coverage to what the same space would cost if it were a paid for ad, and is often criticised for being subjective or difficult to accurately assess.

“We suggest its a combination of qualitative and quantitative  measurements but it’s also about clients business needs, what are their business needs and what are the solutions we can provide,” said Brown.

On continuing to move forward with measurement Brown’s advice was simple – talk about it upfront before even the creative process begins.

“With all the work we’re doing both overseas and locally and this being such a hot topic and the focus of our industry we’re definitely moving forward.

“There’s a couple of things we need to do as an industry and one is, have some difficult conversations up front. And number two is stop trying, and convince our clients to stop trying to separate the PR affect from the overall affect of the campaigns we work on.

“It’s incredibly rare that we work in isolation,” she added.

Miranda Ward 


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