Will Banning AVEs Actually Work? Probably Not

measurementYou probably know what we think of advertising value equivalent (AVEs) metrics at Clarity PR, following our UK MD, Sara Collinge’s piece in February on the topic.

However, the industry debate just continues to rumble on.

Following on from Sara’s piece, The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is now going to publish a new professional standard on public relations measurement in the autumn which, it says, “will identify the use of AVEs in public relations as unprofessional and set out an expectation of members that their use will cease.” Guidance on these new rules will be presented to the CIPR council in September 2017.

However, more worryingly, the CIPR is reportedly planning to make its members “liable to disciplinary action” if they still use AVEs after a one year period of one year to “transition to valid metrics.

It seems the stick, not the carrot, will be used moving forward to get rid of AVEs once and for all.

Any professional worth their salts in the PR game knows that the AVE metric is a busted flush, that holds little to no credibility. We can all reminisce about those days of fiddling around with calculators and rulers to generate some unfathomable amount, that in reality, had no actual meaning.

But will the CIPR’s approach to, in effect, outlawing the practice actually work? Probably not.

While at Clarity PR, we have and never would use this metric, some agencies, for a variety of reasons, such as economic pressures or even just to keep a client happy, will undoubtedly still keep using the metric. Instead, following the education route, which up to this point the CIPR has done, will be more fruitful in my opinion. Remember the first AVE dating back as far as 1968, the industry has been slowly but surely weaning itself off them for decades but to finally eradicate them will probably take another generation.

Reliable metrics are no easy thing to solve and this not only applies to PR, as long established concepts like gross domestic product (GDP) are still being hotly debated for their validity. However, it is a testament to how credible the industry wants to be taken that its governing bodies, such as the CIPR, are seeking to constantly evaluate measurement. However, education, no enforcement will deliver better results.

Dave Claxton

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Will Banning AVEs Actually Work? Probably Not
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Adtech vendors need to be their customers’ best friends

It has been one of the fastest success stories in technology. “Adtech” – the collective name for platforms helping advertising buyers and sellers to target, trade and transact – has been booming.

In recent years, the sector has seen a flood of investment, as venture capitalists poured money in to a segment that facilitates the internet’s primary monetisation model.

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Adtech vendors need to be their customers’ best friends
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How working with a PR agency can boost a fintech company

If you’ve never heard of the term fintech then you are probably in the minority. It’s been in the media spotlight for several years now, sparked by a wave of innovative new businesses offering slick financial services to consumers, or enabling technologies to banks and retailers to enable them to operate more effectively.

The movement wasn’t self-conscious enough to describe itself as ‘fintech’ in the beginning – that tag came from the media. A portmanteau of the words ‘financial’ and ‘technology’, it describes any digital service or platform that supports or enables banking or financial services.

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How working with a PR agency can boost a fintech company
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How to make an impact at events and conferences

Congratulations, you’ve decided to take the plunge and exhibit at a conference!

It’s a costly decision and not one to be taken lightly, though if you take these simple tricks and tips into consideration, you can ensure your event goes ahead without a hitch.

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How to make an impact at events and conferences
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The reasons why Venture Capitalists need PR

It is incredible to think that it was ever the case, but there once was a time when Venture Capitalists were perceived by entrepreneurs as almost mythical creatures – shy individuals who shunned publicity and were barely traceable online.

That clearly isn’t the case anymore as VCs jostle with each other to garner the most followers for their blogs and Twitter accounts. So why this sea change? What has happened in the VC world to bring this about, and crucially do VCs really need to employ PR companies?

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The reasons why Venture Capitalists need PR
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General Election 2017 – who is winning the PR war?

We’ve had a little over a week to get over the surprise of a snap General Election being called for 8 June. Political analysts seem to be fairly unanimous in their reading of the strategy – it looks as if it will help the Conservative party boost their majority and weaken opponents, easing the course of the hard Brexit the UK is heading for.

While some may argue that tactical voting might actually cause this move to backfire, and others warn of the dangers of believing opinion polls after the 2015 General Election, I want to focus on how the party leaders are presenting themselves from a communications point of view.

None of the party leaders will want to get caught in comms disasters such as Gordon Brown’s “bigoted woman” remarks, or do anything to make their positions untenable – such as promising a referendum on EU membership like David Cameron did. But against a backdrop of fake news and the “post-truth” era, candidates need to think hard about how they present themselves and their policies.

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General Election 2017 – who is winning the PR war?
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Five ways Twitter can help boost your PR efforts

When engaging in a public relations campaign, companies tend to rely heavily on building an audience solely through media coverage, without capitalising on other ways to amplify their presence alongside it.

Social media, and Twitter more specifically, serves as a complementary tool that can be used to add greater value to media coverage achieved, helping to prolong the life of the coverage and bring further reach to a brand. Understanding the various tactics in using different social media channels can help a brand gain greater traction and attention, adding further value to any PR campaign.

Here are five ways Twitter can be used to help boost your PR efforts:

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Five ways Twitter can help boost your PR efforts
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Clarity and charity: boosting the STEM sector

Since the company was formed in 2012, Clarity has worked with charities such as Alive and Kicking and Restless Development with the aim of doing our bit to make the world a better place. But as a small company trying to establish itself and grow a sustainable business it hasn’t always been easy to dedicate as much time and resource to charity as we would have liked.

This year, however, we are giving our charitable efforts new impetus and direction. We’ve now connected with partner charities in both the UK, where we were founded, and the US, where we have a fast-growing office in New York. We’ve also carefully selected charities where we think our skills and expertise can help to make a real difference.

The issue of education is one that is very close to our hearts. As an agency that works primarily with technology companies we have a deep understanding of the issue of skills shortages in both the UK and US when it comes to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. In both countries there simply aren’t enough students retaining an interest in these areas or achieving meaningful qualifications that would set them up for careers in these industries. Increasingly talent needs to be brought in from outside the country or businesses need to relocate some or all of their operations overseas in order to meet this shortage.

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Clarity and charity: boosting the STEM sector
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United: How not to manage a PR crisis

Another week, another brand forced to refer to the PR Crisis Communications Playbook. In fact, I would think that United Airlines’ copy of this publication is looking rather dog-eared by now, given the recent debacle surrounding appropriate clothing for passengers.

A much more serious PR crisis arose, though, when footage and witness accounts of an ugly incident involving a passenger being forcibly removed from an airplane for refusing to give up his seat on a flight that had been overbooked.

Let us remember that this is a company that has won plaudits for its PR in the past. We should also remember, though, that it also has form for this kind of incident.

Rather than focus on the rights and wrongs of what happened on the plane itself, or whether the policy of overbooking flights needs to be cracked down on, I want to focus on the mistakes made in United’s communications after the event.

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United: How not to manage a PR crisis
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Pepsi: Why your brand’s message needs to be clear

Pepsi. Has there ever been a brand that lived more in the shadow of its closest rival? The perpetual challenger, which has provided us with “over 100 years of fun and refreshment”, finds itself in the public eye for all the wrong reasons right now.

The company has provoked some strong reactions – pretty much all of them negative – for a new campaign featuring Kendall Jenner. In the ad, Jenner leaves a protest of which she is part to present a can of Pepsi to a police officer.

The links to the recent protests by the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality are clumsily obvious – whether intentional or not – and Jenner’s participation in the advert is proving as controversial as her actions.

The ad has high production values and will have cost a great deal of money to make. But the damage it could potentially do to Pepsi’s brand is very difficult to put a number on.

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Pepsi: Why your brand’s message needs to be clear