How to Assess the Effectiveness of Your Corporate Social Advocacy with a Kick Butt Index

 Interested in how to measure CSR? See this page for a guide to our coverage.

It’s been called an Optimal Content Score (OCS), the Media Quality Index, and, best of all, the Kick Butt Index. Whatever you name it, it provides the data-informed answer you need when the boss says, “Damn it, do something! We’re getting our butts kicked!” or “Congratulations, you’re really kicking butt out there!”

It’s a single number that reflects the quality of coverage around your CSR (corporate social responsibility) and CSA (corporate social advocacy) efforts. It is different from a Kick Butt Index for your regular media coverage because it requires that your brand and the cause be mentioned in the same article. A perfect 10 means that the article theoretically drives your stakeholders to act in ways that support both the cause and your brand.

Here’s how to develop your CSA Kick Butt Index (KBI):

Step 1: Define the important elements of a media item.

Think about just which elements of a media item (post, article, story, mention, etc.) would motivate your target audience to support the brand as well as support or donate to the cause, or change a habit or opinion. (Remember, these articles mention both your organization and the cause. This isn’t about general PR or social media.)

Those elements might include:

  • A key message
  • A desirable photo
  • A quote from an influencer
  • Desirable sentiment (leaves the reader more likely to do business with or support the organization or support the cause(s) you promote)

A story or post that contains all those positive elements would be a perfect 10, correct? Correct!

And then there are some stories or posts that might have the opposite effect. Define your worst nightmare: the story that dissuades your audience from doing business with you, or from supporting you or the cause(s) you promote. That story might:

  • Position your CSA or CSR efforts as greenwashing or woke washing.
  • Wrongly state your position on the issue.
  • Contain an incorrect message or misleading information, including negative revelations about the cause or its spokespeople.

A story or post that contains all those negative elements would be your worst nightmare or a -10, correct?

So now you have defined the two endpoints of your scale.

Step 2: Designate a weight for each element of coverage.

Now assign a weight to each of the elements you identified above, based on the relative impact it would have on the success of your campaign. For example, in the context of your campaign a negative headline might be twice as bad as an incorrect message. Or a desirable photo might be twice as persuasive as a positive mention.

Put all the criteria and their weights into a chart that looks like the one below. Make sure that all the various weightings add up to +10 (for positive coverage) and -10 (for negative coverage):

Perfect 10 Score Worst nightmare Score
Mentions your brand and/or the Social Mission or Cause for which you are advocating in the headline 2 No headline mention 0
Accurately positions your stand on the social issue 1 Inaccurately portrays your stand on the issue -2
Positive, i.e., leaves a reader more likely to do support the mission or work with the company to support the mission 2 Negative, i.e., leaves a reader less likely to support the cause or the company -3
Contains one or more desirable messages 2 Cynically reports your support, mentions greenwashing, woke washing, or unethical behavior -4
Contains one or more desirable visuals 2 Contains an undesirable visual -1
Contains a quote from an ambassador, influencer, or spokesperson 1 Includes no quote 0
Total 10  -10

Step 3: Analyze the relevant posts and articles.

There may be far too many items to analyze every single one. If so, only analyze those that you know influence your target audience. That is, those from top tier publications that drive the rest of the coverage. Give each item that appears in those stories a weighted score calculated from the KBI chart you’ve developed (like the one above).

Step 4: Compare to the past or a benchmark to see if your articles are improving.

Now compute the average KBI for all stories that appear in a given period. If your campaign is annual, look at your average KBI for each month. If it’s a shorter period, you might want to benchmark against other prior campaigns. Ideally, now that you’re focusing on content that contains your positive elements, your average KBI will improve over time.

You can now use that score to compare campaigns, and also to easily correlate your results to web traffic and other outcome metrics. ∞

Thanks for the photo to Luz Fuertes on Unsplash.

About Author

Katie Paine

I've been called The Queen Of Measurement, but I prefer Seshat, the Goddess.