Communication measurement moves up a level with Barcelona Principles 2.0

Barcelona Principles 2.0

It’s fair to say that measurement of your communication efforts is an essential element in best communication practice. If you don’t measure outcomes, how will you know whether or not your efforts achieved the objectives you set?

That’s a simple question Barcelona Principles 2.0 endeavours to address in a revision to the set of principles first developed in 2010 as a PR measurement standard, published last week, that reflect significant changes in the media landscape and the emergence of integrated communications over the past five years.

AMEC (the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication), the trade body behind the initiative, says Barcelona Principles 2.0 goes beyond the PR sector and outlines applications for communication measurement overall. The revised Principles include greater attention to the role of qualitative methods alongside quantitative methods, they said.

In a post explaining why the shift from a focus on PR to one that is far broader and deeper across organizational communication, David Rockland, Ketchum Partner, who chaired an international working group representing the original partners involved in the 2010 principles – AMEC, ICCO, Institute for Public Relations, PRCA, PRSA and The Global Alliance – notes:

We’ve widened the scope beyond PR measurement: The Barcelona Principles outline the basic principles of PR and overall communication measurement. We’ve reframed some of the language to emphasize that The Principles provide a basic foundation and are relevant and applicable to all organizations, governments, companies, and brands globally.

We’ve reinforced the importance of integration: We recognize that in an integrated communications environment, measurement must be integrated. This means integration across geographies (global and local), across methods (quantitative and qualitative), and across channels (including paid, earned, owned and shared media).

We’ve made a distinction between measurement and evaluation: In addition to the role of measurement, we’ve called out the role of evaluation – the actual process of using data to make a judgement on value and effectiveness of communication.

We’ve included more focus on qualitative: Qualitative information plays an important part in measurement and evaluation, often adding colour and context that helps professionals understand “the why” behind the quantitative outcomes.

We’ve reinforced the need for all measurement and evaluation to be transparent, consistent and valid: We’ve provided more specific counsel on accepted methodologies for both quantitative and qualitative approaches, as well as suggested best practices for ensuring quantitative methods are reliable and replicable and qualitative methods are trustworthy.

I think such reasoning is spot on. The contemporary communication landscape is evolving rapidly with shifts and changes that require deeper and more nuanced understanding of that landscape and the role of communication. The Barcelona Principles 2.0 are a valuable asset to communication practitioners across the whole profession as our landscape continues to change.

The IPR has produced this handy infographic that highlights the changes from 2010 to 2015:

Barcelona Principles 2.0 Infographic

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(Image at top via Porter Novelli.)

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