March 1, 2017
Three Ideas for Measuring Professional Services Reputation (Hint: Thought Leadership)
A strong reputation helps a firm stand out and remain competitive. Some clients may ask us, why measure reputation when we conduct client satisfaction surveys? Aren’t they enough to measure how our reputation is faring in the marketplace? Simple answer? No, it is not. Greentarget’s annual survey of general counsel and chief marketing officers has shown time and again that recommendations from trusted sources and credentialing are important in purchasing decisions. A CMO can measure outputs (webinars, events, press releases, media coverage) until the end of time, but unless he/she understands and analyzes the outcomes of all of this hard work, the impact on firm reputation will remain cloudy. “The Top 20 Influencers of CMOs” study recently featured in Forbes revealed findings from more than 1,300 North American CMOs. It analyzed more than 680,000 tweets the CMOs published in 2016, including unique hashtags, links shared, mentions, replies and retweets. Josh Steimle, author and CMO, predicted that “companies will turn to popular business authors, speakers, podcasters and executives who have built large and engaged followings and offer them freebies to hawk everything from invoicing software to consulting services.” These are thought leaders, and most of their assets are digital, measurable and linked to reputation building. Outcomes that bolster reputation could include subscription increases to a firm’s newsletter, downloads of a firm-written survey report or introductions to new prospects (that turn into warm leads) that directly trace back to a thought leader’s PR campaign, eventually resulting in revenue. Professional and financial services businesses are unique in their ability – and we think responsibility – to contribute to a smart, productive dialogue around hot issues across sectors. These contributions result in positive reputation building. Here are three ideas to measure the impact of public relations and thought leadership programs on reputation.
- Conduct a benchmark survey of target audiences about perceptions of a firm’s thought leadership in specific industries or sector categories in advance of a PR initiative. Survey them again 12-18 months later to see how you’ve moved their perceptions.
- Obtain perceptions of top-tier reporters covering the space in which you’d like to be a thought leader and influencer. These reporters may provide insights you never dreamed of getting from clients of your own. These insights can be used as a benchmark or simply to inform the direction of your content for a PR campaign.
- Identify a narrow set of competitors in the area you’d like to claim thought leadership from and conduct an audit of their content, media coverage and social media activity. Analyze and compare with your own.