Communicating your ESG narrative

Dan Wilcock

It is PR Measurement Month! This year, we speak renowned measurement leader and author Mark Weiner. Here’s a bit about Mark to set the scene: 

  • His latest book PR Technology, Data and Insights was named one of the top three PR books for 2022. 
  • He is a member of the exclusive Arthur Page Society
  • The Institute for Public Relations  awarded him Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018
  • He is a member of the PR News all of Fame


This year our theme builds on the Public Relations Institute of Australia 2023 Conference theme Ignite to Spark. For Mark his ‘spark’ in many ways came down to a sign he saw outside a coffee shop in California – Begin Simply, Simply Begin. This neatly frames Mark’s advice on measurement and evaluation of PR: there are so many obstacles and challenges but begin simply, simply begin and learn as you go.

For Mark, the key to proving the value of PR is to understand the priorities and preferences of the people who make the budgeting decisions and from there identifying what metrics matter. 

Often, communicators assume they know what the executive want without asking them directly. Mark puts it like this: “You are three quarters of the way home if you negotiate properly, understand what is meaningful to them, what is measurable and what is reasonable Once you have that you eliminate a lot of obstacles and traps.”

Mark talks through how using a marketing mix model, bringing in data from all disciplines, can be the way to talk the language of business. In Mark’s experience, advertising gets 70% of the budget and delivers approximately $1.10 in terms of sales; price promotion gets 28% and these loses 25 cents on the dollar; PR gets the remaining 2% of budget and delivers $8 on every dollar. Where is the PR for that! 

One of the symptoms of not properly measuring is that PR hasn’t earned the trust of executives in the C Suite. And if you’re ever asked about the value of PR again, here’s a quote to shoot back across the boardroom table:

“PR is the only form of marketing communication that lifts all boats. So when PR, when earned media coverage in particular, is positive and prominent, sales are easier and advertising works better. And the alternate is true, when the news is prominent and negative, it creates harm.”

Published by Paul

Paul Cheal is an experienced financial and corporate communications leader with over 20 years’ experience working with Australian and global brands to build and protect their reputation.
He is a former journalist and an experienced academic, having been a casual tutor and lecturer at University of Technology, Sydney, teaching PR and communication to undergraduate and post graduate students. With a Masters of Public Communication from UTS as well as a Bachelor of Arts (Communications), Paul is passionate about Public Relations, this podcast is an opportunity to speak with key practitioners, academics, leaders and influencers from across the profession.