In the era of big data, communication research and measurement can be a daunting prospect. With so much information available, how can communicators find the information they need to make a difference in their organizations? CW Senior Editor Jessica Burnette-Lemon asked Sarab Kochhar, Ph.D., director of research for the Institute for Public Relations and associate director of measurement and analytics for APCO Worldwide, for some insights on what new types of measurement skills communicators need to master.
Jessica Burnette-Lemon: Measurement and data science are becoming more and more a part of the required skill set for communication professionals, but many communicators are still reluctant to embrace these skills. How can they get started, or improve on the skills they have?
Sarab Kochhar: It’s important to measure what “matters,” which is defined by the how success is determined. Measurement and data science help assess and enable the communication professional to determine which methods, tactics and tools are working and which are not working. Virtually every aspect of business is now open to data collection and this broad availability of data has led to increasing interest in methods for extracting useful information and knowledge from data. PR and communication professionals should view data science as a way to improve decision-making and as a key strategic asset.
JBL: What kind of research and measurement skills do you think will be crucial for PR and other communication professionals in the near future?
SK: One skill that will help PR and communication professionals in their future is the ability to ask the right questions. As communication professionals, we should understand that the data could only give us the right answers if we ask the right questions....
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