It’s a year since I was at the AMEC global summit in London for the launch of the Integrated Evaluation Framework tool. At the time, I confess to being distinctly underwhelmed and thinking “is this it then?” as it appeared to me no more than a series of obvious steps where you typed in some text.
One year on and I’m far more impressed. I’m not really the target audience for the framework tool as the processes it guides you through are ones that I’m already using with clients. It is far more useful to public relations professionals who aren’t as familiar with the latest global best practice on the measurement and evaluation of communications.
However, I’ve also discovered the online framework tool is useful in my own work, if you use it in a particular way. The real value in the tool isn’t so much that it guides you through the steps, but that it provides a framework you can use to take the person briefing you through the steps. Now I’ve been using the tool in the wild for a year, I’ve discovered that the best results come when you use it in a workshop, with the person who is asking for the campaign or plan; be that a client or someone else within your organisation. It helps them to understand much what you as a public relations professional actually do. It also explains why they need to give you a clear brief with measurable business or organisational objectives, instead of the rather vague requests to do something which is often just activity (news releases, events, videos, Facebook pages etc) with no real purpose.
As you get farther into the framework, especially when you start getting to audiences, out-takes and outcomes, they will realise why you were pushing them to be more specific. At this point you’ll all want to go back to the first red box and refine the objectives into one which do refine what the campaign is meant to achieve and therefore how you’ll be able to measure if it’s working.
If your client or person asking for the campaign won’t sit down with you and use the tool then you can get a colleague to ‘play’ their role and you should end up with a more robust plan, but it still will not be as good as getting them to work with you.
My final point is to be very clear about what the integrated evaluation framework is and isn’t. It isn’t going to tell you what to measure and evaluate or how to do it. It is going to provide you with a great structure for you to work out what you need to measure and evaluate so you can find out how to do it.