In the June, 1995 edition of O’Dwyer’s magazine, I declared that “the time is right to create universal standards for the measurement of PR.” Seventeen years later, we revisit the state of PR research and analysis circa 1995; and assess how far we’ve come in the creation and implementation of universal standards.

At the time, my manifesto, “Universal Standards Needed to Measure PR Effectiveness,” began by calling for a three-part measurement process for “activities, outputs and outcomes.” I concluded that “a template for measurement seemed like the best place to begin even if a universal standard for determining success depended on the objectives of the program.“ At least, I suggested, each program should answer questions about “Was our PR investment spent wisely?”

In 2012, the question goes largely unanswered; the measures and procedures are not standardized and the profession still struggles to quantify value and business impact despite serious efforts to do so. Let’s trace our steps...

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