The Chartered PR Practitioner Q&A: Paul Noble on PR measurement
One of my commitments as CIPR President was to promote the value of learning and development as a foundation for professionalism. Throughout the year I’m going to blog interviews with practitioners that have achieved Chartered PR Practitioner status to understand their motivation and perspective on the profession.
The Chartered Practitioner qualification is pitched by the CIPR as “a benchmark for those working at a senior level and a ‘gold standard’ to which all PR practitioners should strive to reach.” It consists of an initial questionnaire on your career, a paper and formal interview.
Paul Noble's paper explored the issue of the measurement of public relations.
I’m an independent practitioner based in rural Dorset. My day job covers training, professional development, online tutoring and supporting growing PR consultancies. I’m course director of AMEC’s online college and Chief Examiner of two of the CIPR’s professional qualifications.
What’s the greatest opportunity for the public relations profession?
The greatest opportunity for public relations is to be the lead communications discipline – sitting at the top table. Research is the touchstone of strategic communications. And if we can bring the disciplines of strategic planning – situational, stakeholder and organisational analysis – to that top table then we can be of value at the highest levels in any organisation.
Our ability to generate insight from the appreciation of the internal and external environment in which that organisation operates can add real value.
Why did you apply for Chartered PR Practitioner status?
We need a cadre of experienced and insightful practitioners to help establish the professional credentials of the public relations practitioners. And I had the arrogance to think I might be one of them.
How did you find the assessment process?
I was a little apprehensive. But actually I sort of enjoyed justifying my professional credentials under gentle challenge from my peers. Most valuable, was the opportunity for personal reflection on what I had achieved and what I might have to offer.
What was the topic of your paper and what did you learn?
It was a little bit geeky: looking at quantification in PR evaluation. I was worried that we are doing ourselves a disservice by using simplistic quantitative measures such as advertising equivalent value and opportunities to see: losing credibility and being relegated to technician status by being associated with output/process measures.
I learnt that the solution is, as ever, to take refuge in best practice – in this case, best practice in research and evaluation. For example, examining both the quantitative and the qualitative ensures that not only do we know what is happening, we also gain insight by appreciating why it is happening. And I also got to grips with content analysis; the acceptable face of media evaluation.
One practitioner I interviewed had never heard of content analysis but responded: "Not a term we use, but it makes a lot of sense. It’s not something we do overtly, but it does percolate through everything that we do."
You can connect with Paul via LinkedIn, or Twitter (@PRroamer), and if you’re interested in further information about learning and development please check the CIPR website.