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PR: It’s the inches that count

The way Kiwi organisations measure the value of PR-generated media coverage is the subject of a nationwide review being conducted this month by the CAANZ Marcomms committee and the New Zealand Marketing Association (NZMA), with agencies and clients around the country being surveyed in an effort to find out about their use of Advertising Equivalent Values (AVE) and other PR measures.

Despite the fact PR is now a $7 billion worldwide industry, it has been hindered for years by its inability to quantify the value the discipline brings to clients/businesses. One of the ways that value has been assigned to PR campaigns is by AVE, which is calculated by multiplying the advertising rate card value of the media coverage achieved by a number (usually between three and seven) that is chosen to reflect the view that editorial coverage has more resonance with consumers than paid for advertising space. This formula has been used globally for more than 40 years.

Chair of the CAANZ Marcomms committee, Claudia Macdonald, says there are two reasons for the survey: “Unlike other countries around the world, New Zealand currently has no agreed number by which AVE figures are arrived at. We think it’s important to get agreement on that multiplier so that PR-generated media coverage can be judged on a level playing field.”

The two associations are also hoping to stimulate debate on the use of AVEs and the best way to measure PR and demonstrate its value.

“Worldwide the move is away from AVE but while it still exists as a measure, we want to agree a national standard for CAANZ members and provide everyone, from clients to awards judges, with a uniform assessment tool . . . In addition to CAANZ members, we’re pleased to be canvassing industry views through our valued relationship with the Marketing Association.”

The survey can be filled out on the NZMA’s website and the results are expected to be released in April.

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