PR and communications professionals from across a wide range of industries flocked to Miami last week for PRNEWS’ Crisis and Measurement Summit. The conference focused on two of the most crucial topics to communications professionals: PR measurement and crisis management. For two days, summit attendees dove into a range of workshops, keynote sessions, networking opportunities— and even mojitos by the poolside.
There was so much valuable content over the course of the summit, that the team at Cision thought we’d share a few key takeaways:
1. Communicate with leadership
One of the recurring themes throughout the conference was the importance of communicating with the c-suite to truly understand your organization’s business objectives. In order to build- and then execute- an effective communications plan, it’s crucial to get an understanding of what executives at your particular organization actually care about. Asking the right questions and discovering what executives really want from PR will also eliminate risk when they ask you for updates on what you have accomplished. Having communication with leadership ultimately allows PR professionals to do their job better; by planning how comms can support the organization’s business objectives and knowing what will demonstrate success to the c-suite.
2. Measure what matters and use data strategically
Now that PR professionals have the technology to measure the true impact of PR, it’s easy to get excited about all the ways you can measure success. But a major takeaway during the conference was that we shouldn’t be measuring everything, and that instead we should only be reporting data that will actually be important to the business. And simply presenting that data without context won’t provide real value. Analytics should be viewed as a “decision support function.” So while it’s vital to have tools that provide data, PR professionals have to use that data to align with business partners on developing an effective strategy.
As Cision’s Chief Insights Officer, Mark Weiner, explained, benchmarks should be “measurable and meaningful.”
3. Know your audience
Another key takeaway was the importance of understanding your audience. If you’re not getting your messaging across to the right people, how successful are your efforts really? Look at your data to evaluate and confirm where your audience is engaging with relevant content and what’s most effective. It’s important to ask questions like:
- Which publications does my target audience read?
- Which platforms do they like to use to engage with our brand?
- How do they engage with our competitors?
- What type of voice do they respond best to?
- Which influencers inspire and motivate them?
These conversations also highlight exactly why your organization’s social media team should have a seat at the table, as they’ll contribute valuable insights.
4. Be prepared
While it’s impossible to predict exactly what crisis will arise and when, there’s a lot that communications professionals can do to prepare for one. Prior to any crisis, publicists should identify which crises they might be dealing with at their particular organization so that they can arm people with the ways they’ll plan on responding. With that in mind, there should also already be a library of pre-approved content in place and your team should know what to do if you’re not available when a crisis hits.
The importance of communicating with leadership also rings true when it comes to crisis communications. Executives should already be familiar with a plan before crisis strikes and should also be comfortable speaking to media if needed. Since it’s not always appropriate for the CEO to respond to a crisis, media training is crucial for the entire leadership team. It’s our job as PR professionals to arm not only ourselves, but our organization, with the right tools for when a crisis hits.
5. Purpose, purpose, purpose
More than anything, the importance of purpose continued to be an underlying theme throughout the conference. Why do we do what we do? How do we tell more human stories? How can we drive more positive action? What’s the right thing to do?
Keynote speaker Ana Navarro summed it up best when she explained that our roles as PR professionals is to consider not only how to keep a brand viable, but to consider what kind of a difference we can truly make.