Measure your results
No doubt communication is valuable, but communicators should be able to bring the documentation of when communication adds value to the business goals and in what way it is valuable.
In an early stage in my work with strategic communication I realised, that it is essential that we as communicators is able to speak the langue of the board. People in charge of companies feel comfortable with figures and numbers and unsecure with stomach feelings and papers with a lot of words. As professional communicators we should be able to speak the langue of our audience.
On this page you will be able to find some good advices of how to select measurable goals and how to measure them.
Be aware of the chain from goal-result-measure
When you want to measure the communication, you have to be sure that there is a direct line from what you have done to the result you want to measure. No one should be able to have reasonable doubts of the connection between the communication work and the result, you are measuring.
Be aware that it is unlikely that you will be able to bring a clear documentation of how the business result depends on the effect of the communication. On the other hand it is most unlikely, that it is possible to reach a business goal without an effective communication. What you have to measure is the effect of the communication regarding to the different target groups.
When you are working with strategic communication, you have to be aware, that it is not possible to measure on at strategic level. You have to be specific in your goals and transform the strategic goals to concrete goals. It will likely be a tuff job, and a lot of people are to busy to describe specific goals and others will have their own agenda on what they consider is the most important goal. It is necessary that you don’t compromise on setting measurable goals. Without specific goals you will be unable to measure the value of the communication.
Design the measurement
Your measurement won’t be useful unless you have a written design for the work. In the measure design you have to describe:
- what is the subject for the measurement?
- why do you want to evaluate?
- what kind of knowledge should the measurement give?
- what is the context for the subject?
- what is the context for the measurement?
- which methods do you plan to use for the measurement?
- what quality in data (validity) is necessary?
- how large a population do you need and how should they be selected?
- in what way should data be analyzed and interpreted(? tolket) ?
- who should be in charge of the measurement, what is the budget and timetable?
Quantitative and qualitative method
You can only have your data from to sources the quantitative or the qualitative method. Quantitative data is always reported in figures and numbers and qualitative data can never be reported in figures and numbers but always in words.
Using the quantitative methods as survey, you will be able to:
- record amount and size
- development over time
- generalize from a small population to the hole population
When you use qualitative methods you should we aware of the risk:
- that the participants don’t understand the questions in the same way
- you overlook issues there is important for the participant
- the method is unflexible
- you will only se, what you are looking for
Using the qualitative method you will be able to:
- understand complexity
- understand how and why
- control that you have understand (?) the participants correct
When you use quantitative methods you should we aware of the risk:
- you will be unable to reach the same result with a similar group
- that there will be a lot of useless information
- that you could “colour” the result by the way you are asking
Remember small is beautiful
Even when you feel unsecure with numbers don’t be afraid to measure the result of communication – it is not rocket science. You don’t have to measure all the work you are doing or all the communication in the company. Do only evaluate when you or your company need information as a platform for new decisions.
Keep it simple; do only measure what is important not all there could be interesting, that is for scientist not for working communicators in the field.
You should prefer small manageable analyzes and measurement:
– they are easier to overlook,
– it is more likely that they will be completed,
– it will be easier to take a decision of what have to be changed as an result of the analyze or measurement.
You can read more about setting measurable goals, analyze stake- and shareholders and how to plan and design measurement in my book: Measure your results – analyze, evaluation and measuring communication.