PR Community is Upping the Game

Alexander Buhmann

Almost half of the PR professionals in Norway say they regularly measure the impact of their communications activities on the outcome level.

Text: Assistant Professor Alexander Buhmann

KNOWLEDGE @BI: Communication for Leaders

Measurement and evaluation is the cornerstone of the professional development of communication managers. Whether clarifying the contribution to their organization’s strategic goals and bottom line or for gathering necessary information for effective communication planning.

Successful communication

Excellence in Measurement and evaluation is a deciding factor for any successful communication.

Both national and international surveys show that the majority of the profession still need to up their game. There is a need for:

  • a stronger focus on comprehensive evaluation models that include valid measures for communication impact at the outcome level
  • more rigid application of social science research methods in formative, process, and summative evaluation
  • abandoning Advertising Value Equivalency and other simplistic metrics
  • clearly linking measures with strategic communication goals

A current study conducted by the BI Centre for Corporate Communication’s researchers Peggy Bronn and Alexander Buhmann in cooperation with Kommunikasjonsforeningen sheds light on the state of the field in Norway.

State of the field in Norway

The good news: Almost 50 percent of the 422 surveyed PR professionals say that it is part of their job to regularly measure the impact of their communications activities on the outcome level (i.e. change of attitudes or behavior).

Even better: Of those who answered that this is currently not part of their job, close to 80% voiced that they would like to perform this type of Measurement and evaluation in the future. This indicates that the profession in Norway is definitely on the right track.

Two areas for improvement

The preliminary results suggest two main areas for growth and improvement.

The first is skills and resources. Over 41% of the participants were unable to perform more sophisticated Measurement and evaluation and another 25% were unsure about their abilities to do so.

The second is norms and standards. Only 43% of the participants reported that sophisticated measurement and evaluation is expected of them by their colleagues and professional peers. Hopefully this number can and will improve in the coming years to further a “culture of evaluation” in the field.

Create professional pressure

One way to work towards more and better measurement and evaluation is to pay greater attention to standards like the Barcelona Principles.

Such standards, if more widely accepted and put into practice, can create exactly the kind of professional pressure that is needed to move the needle in measurement and evaluation in Norway.

Today, 44% of the survey respondents have never heard of the Barcelona Principles and only 8% said that they know them well.


This article is first published in Communication for Leaders No. 2 - 2016.

Communication for Leaders is a Science Communication Magazine published by Centre for Corporate Communication and Department of Communication and Culture at BI Norwegian Business School.

Published 2. May 2017

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