Barcelona Principles: The 7 Commandments of Communications & PR

Barcelona Principles: The 7 Commandments of Communications & PR

Around ten years ago, several international players in the communications and PR industry joined forces to advance the industry and adapt it to the changing economic, technological and business environment.

The result of these efforts was a guideline known as the “Barcelona Principles”, which is internationally recognized in the industry. Today, the seven principles it contains seem almost like religious commandments, but for many professionals in the field they represent a guide for effective and correct communication.

Measurement and Evaluation for Effective Communication

The Barcelona Principles are composed of seven “rules” aimed at ensuring good practice in the measurement and evaluation of communication and PR activities within any organization.

The concept of “measurement” refers to assigning tangible and concrete data to communication or public relations measures, while “evaluation” focuses on the analysis of the effectiveness of such activities, measures or strategies by comparing the results of a measurement with the objectives that had been previously set.

In the world of communications, measurement and evaluation are to be differentiated but at the same time they go hand in hand.

Updated Barcelona Principles

International stakeholders under the umbrella of AMEC have keep revising and updating the Barcelona Principles. The seven basics of communications and PR have lately been adapted to fit the current business scenario characterized by the digital transformation.

Following, there is a summary of the principles as agreed in 2020:

  • Principle 1: For communications planning, measurement and evaluation, setting goals beforehand is fundamental.
  • Principle 2: Measurement and evaluation should consider outcomes as well as the potential impact.
  • Principle 3: Outcome and the long-term impact of a communication strategy for the organization, the stakeholders and society should be considered.
  • Principle 4: Measurement and evaluation should not only be made through quantitative but also qualitative analysis to provide greater understanding.
  • Principle 5: The output metrics of the AVE (Advertising Value Equivalent) are not the value of communication, therefore, measurement and evaluation need a richer approach.
  • Principle 6: Observe, measure and evaluate all relevant channels equally, both online and offline as well as earned, owned, shared and paid.
  • Principle 7: Integrity and transparency regarding measurement and evaluation processes – from data collection and analysis to the compliance with data protection laws.

The updated principles emphasize the importance of using intelligent solutions for measuring communication actions and their success – both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Communicators who have internalized these guidelines not only ensure that their messages are well targeted, received and measurable, they also show a mindful approach towards consumers, stakeholders and society. Thereby, the Barcelona Principles remind us of the importance of correct and holistic communication.

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