Study: PR Influences our Emotions that Drive Action

How do you know if a PR campaign is effective? I hear this question a lot from potential clients. Contrary to what many people might believe, there are several ways to evaluate the performance of your PR agency. (You can read more on that with this blog How to Measure the ROI of PR).

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick summary to measure the effectiveness of a media campaign.

  • Number of Targeted Media Placements
  • Demographics and Readers for those Media Outlets
  • Increased Credibility
  • Actual Sales, which can be measured through analytics.
  • Improved SEO – since search engines use news stories and blogger stories to measure the value of a website.

There is another way to measure the ROI of PR that is frequently overlooked. It’s more difficult to quantify than Google Analytics but according to researchers out of Motista – a consumer intelligence analytics firm – it’s actually more persuasive and leads to higher revenue for brands. This is where the art of PR contrasts with the science of data.

How PR Influences the Emotion of Consumers

Motista researchers published a report in the Harvard Business Review that took a closer look at the science behind what drives consumer action. Their data scientists tried to identify what drives consumers to buy a product versus skip it.

Their researchers discovered behavior actions – called “emotional motivators” – that continually drive consumer action. Those behaviors include:

1) a desire to stand out from the crowd (or fit in);

2) a need to feel secure,

3) the desire to succeed in life,

4) the need for freedom and other patterns.

Sixth Sense for Measuring an Effective PR Campaign

“Emotional motivators” are also a subconscious factor contributing to the ROI of PR.

Let me give you an example. If you are a financial advisor, you need to continually find new investors. If a prominent news outlet details how your financial firm outperformed the markets – and grew your clients’ assets, you are achieving an “emotional motivator.” That emotion motivator is related to freedom, success and security. It’s a reason to drive their action.

Here’s a real life example of that: We worked with a private equity firm and the New York Post published a feature on the CEO with the headline, “The Man who Invests the Money of the Ultra Rich.” Who doesn’t want to be with that money manager?

This approach can help a startup better position itself against a larger, more established competitor.

ROI of PR – Big Data Analysis

This ROI might sound nebulous to the analytics driven CMO, but Motista actually used big data in identifying how “emotional motivators” lead to higher revenue. Their report cited a credit card company that used “emotional motivators” to connect with Millennials for a new credit card launch. New card sales grew by 40 percent and usage increased by 70 percent with those consumers.

As a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York, I suspect that HBR story on Motista was placed by a publicist. If so, Motista got a high ROI from that PR campaign. It not only raised the awareness of the brand to me – but it also raised the awareness of their brand to you. That’s the direct power of PR.

Marketing peers named MACIAS PR the 2017 to 2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the Financial PR Firm of the Year. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He’s also a contributor with CNBC and author of the books, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media and the Tao of PR.