A year ago, during the first “Measurement Week” we posed the question: how does the PR industry measure up when it comes to compliance? Our answer, at the time, was not so well.

One year later, it has made remarkably little progress.

Today, with the rerelease of the “Barcelona Principles 2.0” or “BP 2.0.” we have a revised set of principles which we are grateful for because they significantly expand the scope of the original document. But unfortunately, they do little to bring the industry into compliance.

First let me say that I am a huge fan of the changes in the PR industry that the Barcelona Principles have inspired. As a result of BP 1.0 we have Social Media Measurement Standards and Traditional Media Measurement Standards that are slowly, but surely reshaping the way organizations define communications success – and thus reshaping the communications field.

Secondly I applaud the improvement that the organizers of the rewrite have included, specifically broadening the scope of the profession it addresses.  Given that most of PRSA’s membership works for non-profits or agencies (that support non-profits) it makes perfect sense that the organizers of this update changed the language. In BP 2.0 the language is more inclusive of non-profits and governmental organizations who may not have “business results,” but who are trying to achieve goals that business can’t or won’t achieve. I also welcome the inclusion of broader definitions to include organizational communication since PR today incorporates far more than just media relations.

That having been said, the revised language, supporting documentation, and publicity will do little to raise the industries metrics on compliance. When people reached out to me and others for input for BP 2, I had high hopes that the bar might be raised, and stricter language relative to AVEs and bad measurement practices might be inserted. Alas, I was naïve. AMEC is an organization made up of people who make their living selling AVEs and other easy, yet inaccurate measures. Therefore there is no way that they language can be strengthened.

A year ago, we rated the industry a C+ in compliance with the Barcelona Principles.  Today I’d give the industry an A for effort, but when it comes to the bottom line, given the continued prevalence of AVEs, multipliers and other disgraced metrics, it’s still failing.

Barcelona-2.0-now and then

Thanks to the IPR for providing the image.

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