Don Bartholomew wrote a fantastic article that explains why Ad Equivalency Value is OUT. This notion that PR firms can total up column inches, research the equivalent advertising cost (based on the rack rate) and then multiply that number by whatever multiplier they think is fair (usually between 3 and 5) has been shown to be misleading at best and fraudulent at worst.
David Michaelson, member of the Institute for Public Relations’ Commission on PR Measurement & Evaluation, says the reason for this “lack of understanding by practitioners of best practices or fundamental research practices.” Michaelson and Dr. Don W. Stacks of the University of Miami Communications Department conducted a groundbreaking research project that found.
“No statistically significant difference between ad and editorial in an experiment focused on key measures of credibility, knowledge, interest and purchase intent.”
Thereby eliminating all justification for AVE in public relations!
Instead, PR practitioners must focus on the total value their efforts contribute to an entire organization. Don developed the concept of the Total Value Cube to help visualize these benefits, which include brand and reputation, engagement, influence and action. It also looks at cost savings and cost avoidance.
If you are still measuring results at the output-level only, realize that in these cost-saving times you will soon be responsible for measuring and validating levels of engagement, influence and action (changes in behavior).
If you fail to do these three things well, expect to have your department downsized or cut altogether.