Chuck and I recently attended the 6th Summit on Measurement, sponsored by the Institute for Public Relations (IPR).  This year the location was Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where the festivities began with a meet-and-greet in Strawberry Banke.  Tours of local restored houses and mansions were provided while conversation began among PR, measurement, and education professionals.

Don Wright, Director for the IPR Forums, greeted us the next day as we settled in for a marathon of speeches and information.  The first speaker was the Senior Manager for Corporate Communications of McDonald's:  Leslie Tiongco.  She spoke about the challenges that her team faced as they attempted to apply qualitative research to strategic execution.  McDonald's has many locations worldwide, and their new approach was to make them better, not bigger.

The next speaker was David Slatter of Texas Instruments (TI).  He spoke on the topic of measuring customer loyalty on a global scale.  His presentation included numerous graphical representations of how customers felt about TI compared to other companies as well as their general knowledge of what it is that TI does.  (Side note: Did you know that TI made the Speak and Spell?  Awesome.)

Other highlights from the conference included Toni Griffin and Robert Fronk presenting on a Metlife study, Shonali Burke explaining her three years of work with communications for the ASPCA, and a brave speech by Mazen Nawahi concerning journalistic integrity in the Middle East and his ideas for improvement.

My favorite part of the conference was the four-person panel hosted by Frank Walton, President of RFBinder Partners.  The panel included Kathryn Collins from General Motors, John Gilfeather from Stakeholder Management, Kye Strance from Vocus, and Lou Williams of L. C. Williams & Associates.  The panel began with introductions from the panelists, where Collins explained that she believed PR professionals needed to stop throwing lingo at their clients and start focusing on suggesting concrete objectives.  Williams expounded on his belief that Trust is made up of three words: Expectations, Pragmatics, and Insight.

After the initial introductions, the moderator opened up the panel to questions from the attendees.  Slowly, the panel became less of a Q-and-A session and more of a full discussion among the entire room.  Hot topics included the role of education for PR professionals, the blogosphere translation to the real world, and the legality of emailed surveys.  At times things became somewhat heated, but everyone with whom I spoke afterwards agreed that it was one of the best measurement conversations they'd ever had.

The conference ended on the second night with a "Lobsterfest" hosted at the Shankhassic Farm by Katie Paine.  It was great to hear the thoughts of all the participants at this fun dinner.  I considered the 6th Summit on Measurement to be a great success.  For more information on the summit, visit their website.