About AVE, then and now

A few days ago I had the pleasure of reading the article published by Dana Oancea about the professional vice called AVE – an article which sends a warning sign about the speed, or rather lack of speed which the PR industry has when it comes to the one thing that can provide it with true value and a boost of ”perception” – evaluation.   ”The challenges the PR industry faces inevitably end up drawing attention to the evaluation which advances heavily and with no satisfaction”. This is how the article on pr-romania.ro begins. I completely agree. And I say this having in mind the conclusions I came to when ending my studies and basically at the beginning of my career in PR.     In the graduation thesis I wrote exactly 5 years ago, in June 2011, I did an analysis of the state of the PR industry in Romania compared to that in other European countries. I included here a series of statistics and opinions regarding the evaluation process. As for the tools used, I resorted to a large dosage of curiosity and a questionnaire which generated 50 answers from agency representatives in Europe (33 respondents) and in Romania (17 respondents).     I found a series of common aspects in the two materials which enlighten me even more on what ”heavy advancement” really means. I will list here just a series of observations / conclusions I reached in my thesis, which are just as true today, as they were in 2011.     -          Owing to the lack of concrete evaluations, companies see PR as a waste of money rather than as an investment. In other words, measurement is vital for the credibility of the industry and the ”reason why” for its existence     -          Proper client education is necessary so that evaluation and the reporting of results can be done for outcomes rather than just crossing out the KPIs set in the organisation     -          The reason why many clients still use AVE is that, on the one side, it is easy to understand, on the other side, they don’t have the necessary means to conduct research such as benchmarking or tracking. That is why, even though agencies agree with the Barcelona principles, these cannot be applied before educating clients, a responsibility of the PR consultant     The 7 evaluation principles in the Barcelona declaration in 2010 are important benchmarks for agencies, or so they state. Step II, integrating them in a relevant way in the day by day work and finding viable solutions. Maybe 5 years from now the discussions about evaluation won’t include the term AVE. I am confident that warning signs can lead to change.       And if I am on this topic, it is strictly our responsibility, of each and every communication consultant, to influence how the discussions go. What we can to start with is to truly own our role as consultants, with the risk of losing the first round, but with the satisfaction of winning the game, and why not, the championship.     The entire chapter about evaluation, from the thesis, which includes the comparison for Romania and other European states, can be read here:https://www.scribd.com/doc/317023517/Lucrare-de-dizertatie-capitol-evaluare-pdf