Mike Daniels – Look at what is really happening.

Pat Molloy – The robots really are coming!
23rd January 2017
Barbara Bassi – Investing in the tools of the trade.
23rd January 2017

Mike Daniels – TMP Principal

Dislocation, disruption, distemper. Words that describe the impact of last year’s events communications and, more narrowly, communications measurement.

Three macro-trends are increasingly merging, with the potential to change radically the practice of communications and how it is measured.

  1. Measurement really can’t be just about outputs any more.Trump’s campaign, and the final result skewered the cosy assumption shared by PR and measurement professionals alike, that high volumes of negative coverage will drive negative awareness, and therefore reduce positive voting behaviours.But the election results clearly demonstrated a more potent truth: in some circumstances, even if substantial awareness and negative perception are generated, predictable behaviours are elusive. Communications clients should now be demanding more than just outputs from their measurement suppliers.
  2. It’s definitely, finally time to take emotions seriously…Marketing professionals (and some PR pros) take emotions very seriously indeed. The weight of evidence that behaviours are largely driven by feelings (stomach) rather than rational decisions (head) is both well established and weighty.
    It could be that Trump’s (and the EU Leaves’) campaigns were successful in spite of negative perceptions, because their emotional resonance was strong enough to overcome negative perceptions. At the very least, measurement needs to start thinking about building workable emotional intensity metrics.
    Effective measurement needs to address how to identify emotionally resonant content, how to measure the strength of the emotional carrier (both positive and negative) and how to identify genuine influencers.
  1. Is Twitter the be-all and end-all for social media measurement?Twitter is not the only social media source – without Facebook’s private data, a good half the story is missing. And without non-English language platforms, half the world’s population is missing.
    RadiumOne recently identified that 82% of content shared on mobile, and 70% of all shared content, is done through dark social, channels which are not open to the public and so cannot be searched or researched.
    And Twitter isn’t necessarily a driver of behaviour or even of awareness. Whilst Twitter can, and often does create a news agenda, this shouldn’t be confused with its power to drive actions.
    2016 showed clearly that noisy tweeting isn’t the same as meaningful action. PR and measurement businesses need to be enriching their analytics in order to isolate signals from noise, as well as identifying what genuinely influences behaviour (not just followers).

Lots to watch out for in 2017!

The expert members of the Measurement Practice have each written their own take on the impact of 2016 events on communications and research. You can read their thoughts here.

1 Comment

  1. Well done, you. It’s been fascinating to be on the ground here in the States, see all the negative coverage on Trump and then see him win by a landslide. Your point about emotion is critical, but so is looking at who or what is causing a lot of negative messages. In our case here, it was very easy to trace to leftist media. What wasn’t measured, and couldn’t be, were the members of the silent majority who didn’t want to deal with the nay-sayers. Our chairman at ABX runs a poll and predicted Trump would win, but we all know what happened to most pollsters. It’s really an exciting time to see how communications will sort some of this out!

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