Journal – success measurement: How press spokespersons impress their bosses in an appraisal interview

Clipping services are no longer sufficient for PR to measure success. (© Verena N. /

Press officers are exposed to unfair competition when measuring their personal success. The marketing and advertising department shines with specific metrics, such as how little contact with a customer cost, how high the response rates are and how much was additionally sold. On closer inspection, the figures from marketing and advertising are not always so terribly reliable – but they are figures and the colleagues from the neighboring departments speak the language of management with them. The PR department, on the other hand, is traditionally rather pale. It doesn’t have to be.

The measurement of success in marketing and advertising is primarily based on the higher solvency of these departments. On average, advertising spends up to seven percent of the media budget on measuring success. With a promotional flight for one million euros that is up to 70,000 euros. In return, you can buy generously measuring success – and shine with the boss with nice numbers. The PR budgets, on the other hand, are smaller, so that so far it has mostly only been sufficient for the clipping service. Successes of the press offices are expressed in quite a number of as positive publications as possible. Applied to advertising, it would be as if the head of the advertising department reported full-bodied and proudly how much advertising they placed. One notices immediately: There is no clear information about what was actually done in the target groups.

What added value does PR generate?

Here we come to the exciting question of what the added value of PR actually is for the company. Is it the sales support, i.e. more sales? Is it building the highest possible reputation in order to have a “license to operate” for your own business activity? Is it the professional shielding of the company from crises? If you have a clear answer to this question, you can also use modern communication analysis tools to measure success. This increases the standing of the press department, and the question of the added value of the press officer is clearly answered in the personal interview.

Press offices must be able to afford this measure of success. Modern technology helps here. Communication with companies, brands and products is now available digitally on hundreds of millions of websites, and can therefore be easily read out by machine and then analyzed with the help of artificial intelligence. This enables press offices to demonstrate their successes much more convincingly.

The annual appraisal interview is imminent? The IMWF Institute for Management and Economic Research, Hamburg, is one of several providers of communication analysis in Germany. For press spokespersons, the IMWF has allocated ten free places as part of its VIP webinars for contemporary communication analysis. Further information is available at this link on the IMWF website.

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