How a PR Pro changed the measurement landscape

A revelation about the importance of proving the value of PR led the author to create several businesses—and eventually reshape the way the industry approached metrics and analytics.

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When I was trying to climb the corporate ladder in Silicon Valley in the ’80s, I was a recovering journalist with an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies. I was always trying to make an argument for more budget but was totally intimidated by all the engineers and techie types I had to pitch my ideas to. One day I was sitting in on a meeting and suddenly realized that words just didn’t work on engineers. So I started making presentations using charts and graphs and numbers and my budgets got approved!

Then in 1986, I moved to Lotus Development (now IBM). When I realized I was their ninth Director of Corporate Communications in five years, I decided that I had to demonstrate my value, or I’d quickly be out of a job. I thought about the goals my boss had set for me:

I sat down with all our media clippings and analyzed them, initially taking notes on a yellow legal pad and ultimately putting my analysis into a spreadsheet. I looked at every article and recorded whether it:

I presented the results to our PR agency as well as my boss. Bob Strayton, the head of our agency, was so impressed he said to me afterwards, “Anyone who isn’t using this type of analysis by the year 2000 doesn’t deserve to be in business.”

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