Data at the Heart of PR – A View from the AMEC Summit

June 10th, 2024

A large group of professionals gathered for a group photo at the AMEC Global Summit on Measurement and Evaluation. A large group of professionals gathered for a group photo at the AMEC Global Summit on Measurement and Evaluation.

By Jonny Bentwood, President, Global Data and Analytics

The AMEC Measurement and Evaluation Summit in Sofia has wrapped up, and it remains the pinnacle event of my year. This summit is not just a convergence of experts eager to propel our industry with data, analytics, measurement, and insights—it’s a vibrant community that embodies the spirit of sharing, inspiration, and celebration.

Here are my pivotal insights from this year’s summit:

1) AI’s Role in Efficiency: AI is set to revolutionise our efficiency. The challenge lies in harnessing the time it liberates. We should channel our curiosity and drive to advance our work, rather than merely enjoying the extra hours.

2) AI as an Enabler: Beyond efficiency, AI opens doors to previously unattainable feats. A focus on detecting and acting on disinformation highlights this potential.

3) The Power of Storytelling: Without a compelling narrative, even the most robust data insights and KPIs can drown in noise. Succinct storytelling is our ace, and leaning into design-focused visualisations is our winning strategy. The work with McDonald’s really exemplifies this.

A graph showing the Grimace Shake seeing a 900% surge in birthday bookings at McDonald's.

4) Audience Understanding and Long-Term Strategy: Understanding the audience journey, including “out market” buyers, is vital. Emphasis was placed on the importance of long-term brand building over short-term tactical results.

5) Reputation Management: Building a healthy trust ‘bank balance’ is essential for crisis navigation. A comprehensive framework for reputation management includes gaining goodwill, commanding respect, and building engagement, affinity, and trust.

6) Actionable Data Insights: Data alone is insufficient; the industry needs narratives and actionable insights. PR professionals are seen as trusted advisors who can bridge the gap between data literacy and insight expertise.

7) Evaluation Evolution: The transition from vanity metrics to value-driven communication is key. This involves integrating measurement into strategic planning and focusing on outcomes that drive organisational success. The work with Specsavers moving from the insight of “Hearing loss is isolating, but mishearing is connecting’, to a strategy of re-recording ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ with Rick Astley with incorrect lyrics, to a business outcome of:

  • Achieved a 1220% above target increase in hearing test bookings
  • Hearing was the number 1 trending topic on Google
  • Searches for hearing tests surged by 138%

My overriding conclusion is that data is the new gold. As we approach the Cannes Lions, the key to triumph lies in a strategy enriched by data, sparking unparalleled creativity. Moreover, outcome-based measurement is not just beneficial but essential for success.