Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Measuring the value of PR - the values that make relationships

Over the next few days I will be working on development of tools that allow me to look at corporate and brand values.

You see, it’s quite hard to really see what organisational values are. There are the things organisation say and claim as values and then there is the reality.

First we need to be able to see what values are claimed by organisations.

My route is, as you might expect, mechanistic, replicable and agnostic. To achieve this computer programme will examine the public face of the organisation (government department, company brand) as is evident on their web site. Yes, it does mean opening up every page, extracting the text elements and, to identify potential value statement, process the text to identify the semantically important phrases. I have elected to choose the most significant ones and limit them to a maximum of three per web page.

This will, experience shows, provide a heap of sentences and they have to be refined. Using part of speech analysis we can identify those phrases that are adjectival.

These phrases can be considered the values of the organisation.

With this smaller group of phrases (values), we can explore those that have semantically similar content and identify generic value systems on the web site.

Hey presto, this is a way of identifying the public expression of values of the organisation.

But, as the more cynical of us might imagine, these values will be those that the organisation wants us to see (they may not be in the same order of significance that a company or government department one brand manager would choose - but we are being agnostic here).

We now need to test these values in the cauldron of public opinion.

The first cauldron is that host of people who have expressed an interest in the organisation. That is, those people who have linked to it. What are their values and which ones do they have in common.

Then there are the commentators like the press, bloggers and others who don't link in.

We can now test the expressed values of the organisation against the values of its publics.

The extent to which there is dissonance is an expression of the value of the organisation's public relations.

That's the theory.

Now to see if it works.....