Your Guide to Integrated Communications Measurement

The Paine of Measurement

Hello Measurement Fans,

A few months back I tried to stir up some trouble by positing that Corporate Communications should run virtually all functions in any organization. (See “A New Organizational Chart: Reinventing Communications for the Digital Age.”) My proposal grew from the observation that most organizations view Communications as a primarily janitorial department; their mission is to clean up messes that the other departments make. So why not put Communications in charge of preventing those messes in the first place?

I expected the post to generate controversy, but was disappointed. It seems that the majority of folks out there actually agree with my solution. (Clearly I’m going to have to work harder at being a provocateur.)

So why not put virtually every corporate department except Manufacturing under Communications? Let’s face it, in an era of nearly constant crises, low trust, shortage of talent, and general lack of control over one’s messages, Communications needs to be at the center of just about everyone’s decision-making process. For proof, just look at Image Patrol, my regular column for PR News, where I’ve analyzed dozens of crises for the past 15 years. Every single one of them was caused by someone making a decision that the majority of good communications people would advise against.

It’s no wonder I have a recurring vision of dozens of really smart communicators, being held bound and gagged in the company basement, watched over by stone-faced lawyers, while all around them crisis swirls, the stock price drops and boycotts begin.

Integrated communications is what’s happening now

Although it may be some time before Communications ascends to it’s rightful place in the corporate hierarchy, it’s already clear that communication cooperation between departments is critical. A dozen years ago, lots of pundits were yacking on about the value of integrated communications. But it didn’t really become an imperative until social media went mainstream and organizations realized that, whether they liked it or not, customers and organizations were now in direct  daily contact. Suddenly PR people were doing customer service and talent recruitment on Twitter, and the folks who used to make brochures were now doing marketing on Facebook.

** Click here to read all our posts on integrated communications measurement. **

As a result, I saw a burgeoning business in helping folks create integrated communications dashboards. While doing so, it was often the case that, after wrestling everyone onto the same page for measures of success, we couldn’t get our hands on the requisite data. I quickly learned that the most important ingredient for a successful integrated dashboard was a plate of home-baked cookies—or drinks or similar social lubricant—to coax the data out from whoever had it locked in whatever corporate silo.

Fast forward a few years and the concept of putting all of earned, owned, and paid media under one umbrella is increasingly common. Note that in recent weeks P&G, following closely on the heels of similar moves by Unilever and Aflac, reorganized to put both corporate and brand communications under one roof.

Which is why we devote our current issue of The Measurement Advisor to how to measure integrated communications efforts. (Our last issue on this topic was a couple years ago, and we offer this e-book, as well.) Our new coverage includes:

I hope you enjoy this issue, and, as always, let me know if you have questions or want to talk about measurement.

Happy Measuring,

(Thanks to rawpixel on Unsplash for the image that the illustration at the top is based on.)

About Author

Katie Paine

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