Challenge: Understanding the Success of Complex Communications Strategies

A complex and decentralized organizational structure, featuring an in-house team and multiple PR agencies, was making PR measurement nearly impossible for a leading financial insurance company. Local teams and individuals reported PR metrics from offices across the country and multiple PR agencies were creating reports based on different data. Their measurement process was fragmented and ineffectual, which made it near impossible to prove their contribution toward company-wide business goals let alone prove their value to leadership.

Solution: Standardizing Data and Sharing Accurate Results

The company needed to centralize the collection and analysis of their media coverage. They also had to agree on a set of metrics that they would consistently measure. Those metrics would be tied to business goals and used not only to measure team performance but also inform ongoing strategy.

To put more structure around the process, they chose PublicRelay for their hybrid media intelligence solution that utilizes both cutting edge technology and human analysis. Since the various agencies had been tasked with reporting for each of their topic areas, the communications teams were used to working with outside resources. This solution enabled both the in-house teams and PR agencies to get back to executing on campaign plans instead of reporting on inaccurate data.

Once the measurement strategy was set, PublicRelay began collecting data to set baseline results for each of the categories. Each team would be able to understand how well their thought leadership messages were pulling through, if traditional articles were being shared and on which social platforms, SOV by brand and reputation drivers for both traditional and social media, and the effectiveness of their spokespeople. These results would then be comparable over time and used to determine if they needed to redirect resources or stay on course.

This enables the team to make strategic, data-driven decisions, benchmark their efforts, and confidently report their numbers to the executive team.

Result: Exceeding Thought Leadership Goals

The company as a whole places an emphasis on being a thought leader in their industry and a successful spokesperson strategy is important in establishing that expertise. The communications team measures coverage of their spokespeople to understand not only each person’s share of voice in the industry, but about which key messages they are most often quoted. The team found one spokesperson’s coverage all stemmed from quotes about innovation, an insight that informed not only where spokesperson strategy was successful, but provided understanding of other key message pull through. The team not only benchmarks to understand if each of their own spokespeople receives more coverage quarter over quarter, but also measures against competitors.

The company began tracking their top market commentator against the most highly quoted spokespeople in the financial services industry. Since measuring this spokesperson head to head with competitors, the team has found that he is now the third most highly quoted spokesperson in the industry, climbing from number five. Insights like these are taken straight to executive leadership to show the success of the team’s execution and the impact on the brand.

Result: Demonstrating Return on Investment

As a part of their thought leadership strategy, the company made significant investments in conducting research studies. They performed a white space analysis to determine which topics in the industry were congested and in which topics they could lead a new conversation. Since the company had already been tracking key topics in the industry and their competitors’ coverage in addition to their own, the analysis was easily accomplished using their backlog of data.

The analysis made apparent that Financial Planning was a topic that was talked about in the industry, but none of their competitors owned the conversation around. They began conducting robust research studies around the topic and became a thought leader in this area. Accurate media analysis allowed the company to invest in innovative content creation that earns them positive, high-profile placements.

Continued measurement and analysis of these studies supports the communications team’s initiative. Mentions of the studies, along with mentions of their top spokesperson, dominate the company’s coverage every quarter, proving the return on investment and demonstrating the success of the team’s thought leadership strategy to executive leadership.

Result: Enhancing PR Agency Work

One of the biggest priorities for the company’s PR agencies is to place the thought leadership studies in publications. The agencies work closely with the company’s PublicRelay analyst to understand syndication and impression data of authors and outlets to inform pitches and placements. Having accurate analysis at hand ensures the agencies spend more time on strategy and execution, rather than data clean up.

The various agencies incorporate PublicRelay analysis into their own reports for the company, assuring a single source of truth regardless of the team reporting on measurement. The analysis can now be shared with the C-suite with confidence because it is rooted in accurate data.

This ability to demonstrate the success of communications strategies and how they positively effect corporate goals proves the value of the team to the C-suite in a way that they could not previously. Making data-driven decisions earns the team a seat at the table as a strategic partner to the business.

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