LONDON – PR measurement and evaluation body AMEC has launched its first suite of guidelines and support materials for PR planning, as it steps up its focus on the discipline.

The resources, which are available to download free for all PR professionals, complement the existing AMEC Integrated Evaluation Framework and are applicable to agencies of all sizes who don’t have dedicated in-house planners. The collateral includes step-by-step worksheets, case studies and a series of features written by industry experts on various aspects of planning.

H+K Strategies managing director of data and analytics Allison Spray, who is on the AMEC board, launched the initiative at this week’s Global Measurement & Evaluation Summit, which had the theme of ‘Planning, Purpose and Proof’. She told PRovoke Media: “Planning is on ongoing challenge in PR – it’s our dirty secret that we often don’t plan as well as we could, even though we have more data than ever to enable us to plan better.

“We’re starting with the basics, including how to get past early stumbling blocks like setting SMART or SMART(ER) objectives; the importance of segmenting audiences; making the leap past the insight to what you’re actually going to do; and what is the human problem you’re trying to solve. By doing each of these steps sequentially, getting to the strategy becomes easier.”

AMEC chairman and co-managing partner of Carma International Richard Bagnall told PRovoke Media that, with corporate budgets under continued scrutiny, “Activity that cannot point to its relevance and value is under threat, including PR and communication. To prove value, PR has to demonstrate its effect against organisational goals and targets, it has to show it helps turn the dials that matter to the business. It needs to begin with the end in mind, and to do this, having a clear and relevant plan is critical.”

He added: “We can no longer run the risk of being seen as doing activity for activity’s sake, or activity without a plan. PR planning is the key to proving the value of our work, and to unlocking meaningful PR measurement, rather than meaningless activity driven vanity metrics.”

The resources build on the first phase of AMEC’s efforts to encourage better strategic campaign planning within the PR industry in 2019, when it published a planning primer authored by Gemma Moroney, founder of new agency Shook and previously head of insight and strategy at Mischief.