Barcelona Principles updated as new communication benchmarks launched

Barcelona Principles updated as new communication benchmarks launched


An updated version of the Barcelona Principles 2.0 has been launched by the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC).3109 Barcelona Principles 2 Logo

Who is AMEC?

AMEC acts as the voice for public relations research and measurement providing a forum and international network for sharing knowledge and best practice about communications research, media intelligence and insights.

Where did it take place?

The revised Barcelona Principles were launched today at Ketchum in London as part of AMEC's Measurement Month, an international programme of educational activities.

Why the update?

The original set of Principles was never intended to be a final or complete solution but simply a place for us to start. AMEC and its partners have refreshed the Barcelona Principles to reflect the significant changes in the media landscape and the emergence of integrated communications.

What’s changed?

  • The Barcelona Principles 2.0 represent a shift from what not to do to what to do.
  • The refreshed Principles acknowledge a need for integration on multiple levels across media, geographies and communication disciplines.
  • The updated Principles put more focus on the role of qualitative methods alongside quantitative methods.

Review process

The Barcelona Principles have been reviewed through an international working group led by Ketchum partner and former AMEC chairman Dr David Rockland.

The group included academics, companies, governments and the original partners involved in the original Barcelona Principles of 2010 - ICCO, Institute for Public Relations, PRCA, PRSA and the Global Alliance.

How have the Barcelona Principles have been updated?

Principle #1

From: Importance of Goal Setting and Measurement To: Goal Setting and Measurement are Fundamental to Communication and Public Relations

While the Barcelona Principles were intended to provide a foundation for PR programs, the updated Principles recognize that they can also be applied to the larger communication function of any organization, government, company or brand globally. In fact, measurement, evaluation and goal-setting should be holistic across media and paid, earned, owned and shared channels.

Principle #2

From: Measuring the Effect on Outcomes is Preferred to Measuring Outputs To: Measuring Communication Outcomes is Recommended Versus Only Measuring Outputs

The updated Principle is more encompassing of the role of qualitative methods. While the original Principle stated quantitative methods of measuring outcomes were “often preferable,” the updated Principle recognizes that the use of qualitative methods (along with quantitative) should be used as appropriate. The updated Principle also specifically calls out advocacy as an outcome that can (and should) be measured.

Principle #3

From: The Effect on Business Results Can and Should Be Measured Where Possible To: The Effect on Organisational Performance Can and Should Be Measured Where Possible

The updated Principle emphasizes that communications impact more than just business results; rather communications can impact the overall performance of an organization. To do this, organizations must have, and practitioners must understand, integrated marketing and communication models. The PR channel does not exist in a silo, nor should PR measures.

Principle# 4

From: Media Measurement Requires Quantity and Quality To: Measurement and Evaluation Require Both Qualitative and Quantitative Methods

The updated Principle recognizes that qualitative measures are often needed in order to explain “the why” behind the quantitative outcomes. In addition, the updated Principle reminds practitioners that to be truly objective, we need focus on measuring performance (be it positive, negative or neutral), and avoid making assumptions that results will always be positive or “successful.”

Principle #5

From: AVEs are not the Value of Public Relations To: AVEs are not the Value of Communications

The updated Principle continues to underline that Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs) measure the cost of media space or time and do not measure the value of PR or communication, media content, earned media, etc.

Principle #6

From: Social Media Can and Should be Measured To: Social Media Can and Should be Measured Consistently with Other Media Channels

The updated Principle recognizes that social media measurement tools have evolved to a point where there is greater potential for consistent measurement on engagement, along with quantity and quality.

Principle #7

From: Transparency and Replicability are Paramount to Sound Measurement To: Measurement and Evaluation Should be Transparent, Consistent and Valid

In the spirit of integrity, honesty and openness, the updated Principle includes more specific guidance valid quantitative and qualitative methods in an effort to ensure quantitative methods are reliable and replicable and qualitative methods are trustworthy.

What’s next?

The original Barcelona Principles were defined in 2010. The Principles need to continue to be adopted by the communications and public relations industry.

AMEC is asking public relations professional and trade bodies internationally to get behind the Barcelona Principles as part of a global education campaign.

ICCO chief executive Francis Ingham has publicly backed the initiative via his organisation's 31 international trade associations.

AMEC chairman Jeremy Thompson said measurement companies recognise the need to use open standards rather rather then proprietary metrics.

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