CARMA Asia's Andrew Nicholls: 'Elevate your PR game for now and beyond'

Proving the value of PR and communications in an age of accountability is vital, hence doing measurement in an integrated manner would help illustrate the effect of our work on organisational objectives across the board.

In this modern age of technology, it is very easy to be counting stuff that is easy to count; in other words, validating vanity metrics such as Advertising Value Equivalency (AVEs). Effective measurement practices that would benefit organisations are the qualitative metrics that relate to your business goals and these are the type of metrics that should matter to you.

A+M: What are some industry trends you are watching out for?

Nicholls: The industry is getting to grips with data that goes far beyond coverage volume and AVE. At the same time, I see greater integration between previously distinct “PR” and“marketing” functions within organisations. In 2020, I expect more demand for insights, qualitative analysis and measuring impact across the complete landscape.

A+M: What do you think are the main points of merger for PR and data?

Nicholls: Most clients want to understand their level of exposure and share of voice as well as their positioning, based on metrics such as message delivery and CARMA’s favourability score. Targeting is also important, and for some clients, this can be extremely granular in terms of stakeholder mapping and niche platforms. We like to take things much further to include data from surveys, website analytics and sales to establish how communications efforts are impacting the organisation. Frankly, every organisation is different, and at CARMA, we help our clients establish unique frameworks specific to their objectives, including which data points will be used to evaluate PR.

A+M: What do you think were some of the hurdles marketers faced in 2019 in social listening?

Nicholls: A couple of years ago there were four main social media platforms and literally thousands of social listening providers on the market. We have since seen a lot of consolidation in social listening and many providers close due in part listening and many providers close due in part to the knock-on effects of Cambridge Analytica.

It is now far harder to listen to what is happening on Facebook and Instagram using automated tools alone. At the same time, the range of social platforms continues to expand and in 2019 we saw the emergence of TikTok, and a continuation in the trend for closed groups through platforms such as Telegram.

A+M: How do you think ai will change media intelligence?

Nicholls: The two essential elements of media intelligence are monitoring and analysis. AI is taking over the heavy lifting to capture and sort massive amounts of data.

The key advantage is speed. AI will continue to provide faster and more accurate monitoring services, but when it comes to analysis, the cutting-edge of technology is the human brain.

A+M: What do you hope to see more of in 2020?

Nicholls: I always like to see home-grown Asian brands leading the way internationally. The increasing number of Asia unicorns is very exciting and Iook forward to seeing and hopefully working with more of them in the future.

The writer is Andrew Nicholls, managing director, CARMA ASIA

This sponsored post by CARMA ASIA is part of Advertising + Marketing’s annual Futurist series and was first published in our Q1 2020 issue.