Crescendo has just completed a survey of public relations and marketing professionals in 104 companies, which reveals a deep division between those who support the banning of AVEs by PR industry bodies, such as the CIPR, and those who don’t.
44% of the sample agree that PR industry bodies should ban AVEs versus 43% who don’t, with 13% having no preference either way. Among PR agencies, 43% of the sample agree that PR industry bodies should ban AVEs versus 43% who don’t, with 14% having no preference either way. Where respondents work in-house or for other types of organisations, such as media evaluation firms, 45% of the sample agree that PR industry bodies should ban AVEs versus 44% who don’t, with 11% having no preference either way.
The findings suggest that both the CIPR and AMEC are facing a severe backlash and risk a major schism developing across the PR industry as a result of their decision to ban AVEs.
Even those who are against AVEs believe the CIPR and AMEC have gone too far in announcing a ban. A comment from one respondent that ‘the role of these bodies should be to demonstrate best practices, not dictate them’ is typical of many in the survey.
Let’s be clear about this. We greatly admire the CIPR and AMEC for taking a stance on AVEs, but the results of our survey suggest many members will leave directly because of the ban. This is likely to lead to the worst of all possible worlds where AVEs continue to be used while industry bodies have less influence.
The consequences go way beyond PR measurement. The CIPR worked hard to achieve chartered status and put a stamp of professionalism on the PR industry, which for too many years was parodied as requiring little more than an ability to quaff champagne and make a few phone calls to journalist contacts. It would, therefore, be highly damaging for the PR industry if CIPR membership were to fall.
The good news is that there is a way forward, which would enable the ban on AVEs to stand while providing a new, credible and robust way to measure the value of earned media coverage.
We’ll be talking about this in detail on 28 June at an event we’re organising, in Manchester. Full details about this can be found here.
This is a crucial issue for the PR and marketing industries so do please share your views by leaving a comment below.
Total number of respondents: 104
Split: 49% work in a PR agency and 51% work in-house or for other types of organisations, such as media evaluation firms