AMEC Global Summit on Measurement – Day 1


The AMEC Global Summit on Measurement kicked off in Barcelona this morning at 7.30am. Vitreous World are sponsoring the event for the first time and we have spent the day understanding how measurement is being perceived and implemented 10 years after AMEC first formed. The event it self has been very well attended and the schedule populated with an engaging list of speakers from around the world. Even with AMEC in its 10th year you can still feel a strong sense of pioneering spirit in the room. The morning sessions opened with the news that Barry Leggetter (one of AMEC’s founding fathers and current CEO) would be stepping down after the event. He has been highly praised throughout the event for his commitment and drive in helping to increase the integrity of measurement in communications.

I have listened to many of the speakers today and feel proud to be part of the conversation. Although each presentation comes from a unique business or industry there is a consistent commitment to helping the end customer better understand the value of their investment, and furthermore, offer transparency in how this measurement is being delivered. The term ‘social capital’ was used during the introduction by Sergi Guillot, CEO of Acceso Group. He discussed that we need to be responsible in how we use communications to sell products or support change in society. Equally we need to be responsible in how we intend to measure the campaign impact.

Alex Aitken, Executive Director, UK Government Communications then took to the stage. He delivered an entertaining talk where he spoke candidly about being responsible for running one of the worst government communications departments in history (his own words). His communications team had signed off circa £1 billion in spend but could not provide any understanding of what value they were getting in return. It resulted in 2,000 employees losing their jobs as there was no ability to prove their worth. Alex then went on to demonstrate how he learned from this failure providing an overview of the current model they use which combines ‘Insights, Innovation & Integration’ to deliver measurable change. A marker of their success and confidence in the model was the release of a publication detailing how they approach evaluation, with copies made available to all attendees.

Throughout the day we have heard from global brands, large tech businesses, governments, charities and market leading communications agencies. The overwhelming message at the heart of the content is that we are working hard as an industry to build a frame work which empowers the communications professionals to fairly demonstrate the value of their work. The impact of this goes far beyond justifying the spend, its ultimately about changing lives in a positive way. Alex Aitken closed with an example of an initiative delivered by the Costa Rica Government to combat domestic abuse. Statistics showed that a large number of incidents of abuse happened during the broadcasting of football matches. To raise awareness of this they decided to add additional element to the scoreboard graphics displayed on screen during broadcasts. They added a box to show a counter that showed the viewers how many domestic incidents would have occurred as the game progressed through 90 minutes. The long term effect was evaluated and was shown to have reduced the number of abuse incidents by 50%.

It is refreshing to see measurement in its current guise affecting change in such a positive way. The measurement initiative continues to evolve, and must evolve if it is to stay relevant and aligned with the increasing number of communication channels and methods. As Barry Leggeter leaves he can take great comfort that his vision is now the industries own ‘Social Capital’.  Something we all need to invest in so it remains a force for good for the foreseeable future.