The 16th Annual Summit on the Future of Communications Measurement was held October 7 and 8th here at Shankhassick Farm in Durham, New Hampshire. If you missed it, we’ve got the highlights here by way of photos, graphic recording by Philip Bakelaar, and presentations. (That’s Philip at work, up above.) First, here’s some breakfast to start off the day. (See the end of this article for the lobster dinner that closed out the day.):
How to Assess the Effectiveness of Risk Communications
The first presentation was from Deanna Centurion and myself, Katie Paine, on How to Assess the Effectiveness of Risk Communications:
I presented a deep dive into the state of the art of how to measure the effectiveness of risk communications, based on two dozen or more academic research papers. (We wrote about these findings back in the spring.) My advice packed an even greater impact when backed up with case studies from Deanna Centurion. She has spent the last couple of decades helping risk-prone organizations in the pipeline and energy sector improve their metrics. See the PowerPoint of the presentation here: CenturionPaineSummit2019.
Best Practices on Measuring Crises
Then came Rachel Forrest and Cindy Villafranca of Southwest Airlines, who spoke on Best Practices on Measuring Crises:
Cindy and Rachel used two recent and highly visible crises that Southwest had little or no control over: the Trump administration’s child separation policy that suddenly and unknowingly found Southwest’s aircraft used to separate babies from their parents, and the equally sudden grounding of Boeing’s 727 Max after two deadly crashes. They revealed how they used Southwest’s sophisticated measurement system and its wealth of data to successfully navigate both crises. We’d share their presentation but it’s top secret. You’ll just have to come to next year’s Summit to find out the real story—and its next chapter. 🙂
Putting an Integrated Dashboard to Work on Canada’s National Defence
Last year Jessica Jones, Manager, Public Affairs Coordination and Planning, at Canada’s Department of National Defence, was one of the stars of the Summit on the Future of Communications Measurement. In just about a year she had managed to get all of the defense departments in Canada on the same page and measuring common goals in a common dashboard! This year, with her presentation Putting an Integrated Dashboard to work on Canada’s National Defence, she came back to give us an update on how the process is working out and what they’ve learned. The highlight was her stories about how they used their metrics and dashboard to evaluate the Defence Department’s efforts to aid and rescue folks in Canada’s worst flooding in years. She showed how that campaign and the publicity helped them meet their goals of public awareness and support.
Here is Philip Bakelaar’s graphic recording of Jessica Jones’ presentation:
A Psychological Systems Perspective on Communications Effectiveness
Larry Hettinger spoke on A Psychological Systems Perspective on Communications Effectiveness:
Larry, a native of Durham, NH whom I’ve known since high school, has spent his professional life helping organizations identify fundamental system weaknesses that contribute to catastrophic failure. Think Boeing, NJ Transit, and a gazillion other crises that you’ve heard about. The core of his message is that every crisis has roots in a communications failure—to which every head in the room nodded assent. He went on to inform us exactly how he discovered, through detailed research and analytics, exactly how communications breakdowns between people on the front lines and the people in charge of corporate management, legal, and otherwise, managed to screw things up. If only Boeing, Facebook, United, and so many others weighed the cost of an investment in improved communications against the cost of legal liabilities.
Here is Philip Bakelaar’s graphic recording of Larry Hettinger’s presentation:
See the PowerPoint of Larry Hettinger’s presentation here: HettingerSummit2019.
Designing a Social Media Measurement Program that Helps Manage a Crisis
George Sutcliffe spoke on Designing a Social Media Measurement Program that Helps Manage a Crisis:
George has the challenge of managing a social media program in the middle of the integration and merger of two ginormous organizations: UTC (United Technologies) and Raytheon, one of the leading brands in the U.S. defense industry. He was constrained by all the typical restrictions that happen in a normal merger plus many more due to the confidential nature of most of the clients involved. But he shared what he could about his challenges of bringing together and trying to manage dozens of different social media accounts. The lesson was that no matter how complicated your situation or restrictive your communications you can still figure out a way to measure it.
ROI vs. Value: a Debate on Quantifying Communications
Mark Stouse, CEO of Proof, and I had a lively debate around quantifying the value of communications. I argued for using acceptable proxies or alternatives to strictly monetary values, while Mark relied on his data and experience to argue that everything really can be converted to bottom line value.
The Power of Optimizing a Press Release
Greg Jarboe joined us by conference call from an event in Las Vegas. His program for Rutgers had just won awards there for showing the return a Master’s degree program earned from its integrated communications program. You can read all the details in “Rutgers Master’s Launch Optimized by SEO-PR Boosts Enrollment by $380K.” See the PowerPoint of his presentation here: JarboeSummit2019.
Predictions on the Future of Measurement
As is tradition, at the end of the day of presentations everyone recorded their predictions about the future of measurement. These are summarized in “8 Trends for the Future of Communications Measurement from the 2019 Measurement Summit.”
At every Summit, late in the afternoon there is a tour of the gardens, a visit with the free-range chickens, and a walk down to the dock on the Oyster River. All combined with some serious wine-enhanced networking…
And then… lobster dinner!
See you next year at the Summit on the Future of Communications Measurement! ∞