As someone who has spent the last several years thinking about how to measure intangible things, mostly PR but sometimes Ben & Jerry’s “Cherry Garcia” effect on one’s emotional state, I’ve recently become fascinated with another aspect of business which also requires a combination of creative thinking and data to understand its efficacy: Social good. Selfishly and transparently, I care about this topic insofar as it relates to public relations.

The two are inextricably connected as one of the “stop gap metrics,” a curious little phrase I picked up from Carnegie Mellon professor Ari Lightman. Social good’s success is the degree to which the “PR machine” can generate interest around a particular initiative. For many companies, the audience reach and public awareness (share of voice, power of voice) generated by the media is the raison d’être for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). It is a conduit for touting a corporate mission and a business value — without saying obnoxious things like “we are faster, cheaper and better than anyone else.” Continue Reading…

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