Unauthentic data, fake followers and social media bots were hot topics as 60 communications professionals and students attended the recent Channel Islands PR Forum to discuss different ideas around the concept of value in public relations.
Hosted by the Channel Islands Group of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), the event marked the 10th anniversary of the local group and 70 years of the Institute.
The delegates, which included a dozen students from local colleges, heard from four guest speakers and culminated in a panel session moderated by Jason MacKenzie, the founding Chair of CIPR Channel Islands and the immediate past President of the CIPR.
Mark Oliphant, Chair of CIPR Channel Islands, said: “This was the fourth year we have held the Channel Islands PR Forum and it was the most packed agenda and well-attended event to date. This year’s Forum provided different perspectives on the concept of value, with our speakers providing a balance of theoretical and practical ideas to help us demonstrate the valuable contribution PR professionals make to the organisations they serve.”
Richard Bagnall, Chairman of the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC), outlined the association’s measurement and evaluation framework and online toolkit.
AMEC was a forerunner in encouraging the PR industry’s move away from measuring outputs and its more strategic focus on measuring organisational outcomes. He noted that this distinction is not only critical to proving the worth of public relations activity but is also increasingly important in a world where unauthentic data, fake followers and social media bots are on the rise.
The theme of measuring digital activity was taken up by Daniel Rowles, CEO of Target Internet. He provided insight into the potential pitfalls of online metrics and gave the audience practical ways and useful tools for measuring online success.
Campaign measurement was brought alive by Jenny Caven, Head of External Affairs at Slimming World, who shared a case study of how the UK-based weight loss organisation revolutionised their measurement methods. The firm has won awards for its measurement and evaluation, and Jenny also shared how campaign analysis had changed perceptions of the contribution of PR to the organisation’s success.
Current President of the CIPR, Sarah Hall, provided a different perspective on value and spoke about the role PR practitioners play in instilling social purpose within organisations.
She said: “Purpose is important. It gives a business legitimacy; drives financial performance; aids engagement with stakeholders; and supports talent acquisition and loyalty.”
Mr Oliphant added: “Our speakers are some of the leaders in the field of measurement and evaluation so this was a fantastic opportunity for local communication professionals and students to enhance their development while celebrating 10 years of CIPR Channel Islands. The Channel Islands Group of the CIPR goes from strength to strength and our members are better placed than ever before to help the organisations which we serve develop and maintain their relationships and reputations.”