Objectivity for measuring communication with media analysis

How do we ensure that the media analysis we do are objective and not just the gut feeling of one analyst?  This question is very common and justified from the mouths of our clients, as the main task of our analysis department is to provide an external and independent view of our client's media publicity in a certain period.

At Retriever, we have several ways to ensure the objectivity of the analyses.


A common Nordic methodology makes working consistent

Our analysis work relies heavily on the common methodology used by the entire Retriever Group, which serves as a support for our work and a backbone for the work of all our analysts. The methodology defines precisely how we measure communication and how we approach different communication metrics. With the help of guidelines and examples, it creates a basis for how our analysts interpret media coverage. A common methodology harmonises the work of our analysts and makes our working methods coherent. In addition, the methodology increases the credibility and comparability of our analyses.

Consistent working methods enable e.g. benchmarking, i.e. collecting comparison data from different operators and different industries, so that the key figures of the analysed company can be put into a wider context.

Our methodology is based on the principles of AMEC (International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication), the international umbrella organisation for communication measurement, which creates the industry's best practices for measuring communication. These standards, called the Barcelona Principles, are renewed at regular intervals and you can read more about them in our free guide.


The tone of the article is defined from the point of view of the object of analysis

Determining the tone of the target of analysis often comes up when talking about the objectivity of analyses, as it is a good example of what a common methodology is needed for.  Evaluating the tone on a three-part scale (positive, neutral, negative) is not always clear-cut, but our common methodology creates the framework for it.


What do we focus on when evaluating tone?


With Retriever, the tone of the article is always defined starting from the analysis object. The object of analysis is most often the name of the company represented by the customer, but it can also be, for example, an industry or a spokesperson. The article can be neutral or positive towards the customer, even if the news topic is negative. For example, an article that tells negatively about the industry's growth potential can be positive towards the customer if the article mentions that the company has been making good results for a long time.


First, we pay attention to the choice of words, perspectives, connotations and the attitude conveyed by the media towards the object of the analysis. Second, we look at the news article as a whole: headline, lead, possible citations, and use of images.


As a common thread, we always try to evaluate the tone through the eyes of the average consumer.


This can be challenging, especially when we read a large number of articles about the subject of the analysis over a longer period of time and know the client's communication goals, in which case, for example, the perception of what constitutes negative publicity may change over time.  For this reason, it is important that we have a constant discussion about the methodology within our team and, for example, regarding the tone, we often consult each other in unclear situations. This is how we can ensure the objectivity and consistency of our analyses.  In addition, we discuss with customers how and on what basis we classify the tone so that our work is transparent.


When talking about the tone, it's good to remember that even news with a neutral tone can be a communication success for the organization if, for example, they get visibility for a topic that is important to them, even if the tone towards the organization remains neutral.  For this reason, when measuring communication, it is important to think about which metrics can be used to best evaluate meeting your organization's communication goals.


The benefits of Retriever's media analyses according to Tuomas:

  • The analysis are tailored according to the customer's needs
  • Using and outside provider guarantees objective and professional analysis
  • A common Nordic methodology creates consistency and credibility
  • Using benchmarking brings the key figures of your own organization into a wider context
  • Analysts are AMEC-certified communication measurement professionals who produce findings with qualitative analysis.

Do you want to hear more?

Contact us to know more about how we can help you measure and evaluate your communication.

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