If this were 1776 and the PR industry were reviewing the Declaration of Independence, they’d be saying “yeah, nice words but where are all the laws and rules and a constitution and a bill of rights that will tell us what to do next?.” Never mind that it took our Founding Fathers 11 years to come up with the Constitution and another four to come up with the Bill of Rights.
Granted PR measurement isn’t anywhere near as complicated (although some would have you think thus) as starting a new democracy, but give the industry a little credit that in the five years since we agreed on the Barcelona Principles more than three dozen clients, agencies, researchers and academics have collaborated to come up with Standards and Best Practices for measuring social media and evaluating traditional media as well. (Please note that you won’t find the people who are complaining the lack of prescriptive metrics on this list of people who have pledged to support the standards for which they are so loudly clamoring).
My guess is that people only want to use the metrics THEY think are important. Imagine the chaos if back in 1776 every community decided that only THEIR laws were the right ones. Which is why the Founding Fathers decided we needed a Constitution, three branches of government and a Bill of Rights — and why it took more than a decade to agree to them. The Barcelona Principles and subsequent standards were created by dozens of volunteer PR professionals in response to the chaos in their industry and frustration with dozens of different vendors and agencies all submitting different metrics that accomplished nothing but confusing the hell out of clients.
Trying to unify an industry takes time and a lot of hard work on the part of a lot of volunteers, and yes, I’ve been one of them. And yes, I think the Barcelona Principles could have been stronger, and I am fully aware of the flaws but what bothers me even more is when people clamor for standards and rules but won’t support the ones that the industry has established.