Microsoft PR Measurement

microsoft PR measurement
This morning at the IPR Measurement Summit we are hearing from Microsoft’s Chris Frank, Senior Director for Corporate Market Research. His co-presenter is Andrew Bernstein from Cymfony.

Chris saw the challenge that there is lots of counting, but not enough evaluating. There is no weighting of the massive coverage. He said Microsoft is the most written-about company in the world. They had too much output, but not enough study of outcomes.

Microsoft’s objective was to Develop a consistent, global measurement system to assess effectiveness and impact of PR.

…built on a framework of a set of common metrics

…along with competitive benchmarks to provide

…learning to reinvent the PR discipline globally.

PR turned to Market Research because they wanted an outside team to develop a new standard. They wanted rigorous quantitative background, and a neutral third party to develop the system.

They aren’t tying it yet to reputation data or to the bottom line, but are starting with baby steps. They do a global image measurement study, and government elite study, but they aren’t trying to connect yet.

The system also needed to take into account the increasing role of digital marketing, and roll it all into one number, the PR Index Scoring Model. They boiled it down from a blizzard of 17 factors into six that would be components of the one score.

Buzz – quantity/volume of coverage. Am I being talked about? Am I being talked about by the people I most want talking about me?
Advocacy – is the opinion embedded in the buzz. How am I being judged on the attributes I care about? What course of action is being advocated? For example, Walt Mossberg reviewing Windows Vista advised readers to wait for service pack 1.

Steps of the Microsoft process:

  • Define topic & Geo
  • Assess Buzz levels
  • Evaluate Advocacy
  • Score PR Effectiveness

PR Score = Number of impressions x influence of publication/author (between 0.0 and 1.0) x score on advocacy dimension measured (between -1 and 1)


  • Developing methodology – Defining the variables of the scoring system: How do you weight each variable?
  • Cost efficiencies – What has been don to make more efficient?
  • Segmentation of information – Microsoft one of the most talked-about brands in the world. How do you take an enormous amount of coverage and data and make sense of it?

Microsoft only rolled out this program October 1 (last Sunday), so they don’t have any real results to show yet for this scoring system, but it’s interesting to hear the PR measurement direction a company that has virtually unlimited resources is taking.

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Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 15. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. Emeritus staff of Mayo Clinic. Founder of HELPcare and Administrator for HELPcare Clinic.

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