Maya Koleva, Head of Research and Insight at Commetric and Director at the AMEC International Board, shares her thoughts on the PR Week’s Measurement Conference 2019.

As a relatively new conference-goer, I am one of those who writes down notes like a nerdy schoolgirl and joins Q&A sessions even if wine had already been served outside.

These are my three main takeaways from PR Week’s Measurement Conference 2019, which took place in London on November 19-20th. The event partners were Lexis Nexis and Pegasus, and the conference was organised in partnership with AMEC.

  • Communication professionals are growing more confident in measuring – and demonstrating – the impact of communications. I particularly liked the case studies presented by Dawn Spencer (Kerry Foods), Allison Spray (H+K Strategies and fellow AMEC Board member) and Corrina Safeio (Pegasus – Inspiring Healthy Decisions). They represent diverse organisations and talked about quite different campaigns and goals: Dawn talked about reigniting brand loyalty and increasing sales; Allison shared results of an environmentally-focused campaign ran by a for-profit company; and Corrina told us of a partnership aiming to instil behavioural change in society. And what was particularly noteworthy for me – all campaigns were measured smartly: that is, giving convincing answers to the age-old question “so what?”

  • We as an expert community use buzz words like “machine learning” and “artificial intelligence” but I didn’t hear a thorough and detailed conversation on how machine learning affects measurement – how it may improve it, or maybe dumb it down. Or how we can work to advance the science and art of measurement through smart automation. I am really looking forward to PR measurement conferences in 2020 that will seriously address these themes.

  • We all need to become compliance officers. The GDPR breakout session led by Claire Robson of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity was one of the best policy presentations in our field I have come across. Claire was detailed, thoughtful and relevant: she managed to really “speak” compliance to a non-legal audience. This made me think – sometimes conference-goers avoid the policy workshops as these might be too “boring”. I have two things to say: no, they are not boring, and they can be super insightful and practical. And in relation to that – dear conference organisers, please don’t make me choose between the policy session and an exciting panel talking measurement journeys, the impact of communications or influencers. Don’t turn policy into a “breakout” session; it really feels like, especially in our complex EU and Brexit environment, it should be a main stage presentation.