“Next” We Prove Out Public Relations ROI

On the cusp of a proven PR and social media return on investment (ROI), testing a media monitoring tool proves useful in useful ways. Testing a lightweight brand analytic tool, has opened a window into viewing qualitative and quantitative public relations returns.


Courtesy © olly – Fotolia.com

For several weeks now I’ve been testing Mention, a media monitoring tool from founder of Fotolia, Thibaud Elziere. In what has become a fairly crowded social media monitoring space, Mention is wholly differentiated by a lightweight approach to analytics reported tailored for SMEs and those who need a fast, affordable, and effective window into what’s being said about their brands. First, I’ll review a bit of how Mention works. Then we’ll explore an interesting experiment I conducted on hotel brand, Nordic Choice Hotels.

Light Listening for Brands

Let’s face it, small to medium sized businesses desperately need monitoring tools to pan our their strategies short and long term, where digital convergent business goes. And with the onset of a paradigm shift to mobile and mobile-social, the need will accelerate dramatically in the months to come. But, one things smaller entities DO NOT need is an unwieldy, resource gobbling toolkit that requires expert operation. Platforms such as BrandwatchAlterian/SDL and a plethora of others offer deep and detailed correlative measure, but for simplified human-machine powered understanding, there’s not so many good solutions out there.


As you can see my own brand is no slouch Mention wise – comparing three brands across the board of languages and media

Mention entered the space with the same level of listening capability (if abbreviated purposely), but spread out in an easy to understand and operate dashboard. Where more costly and complicated interfaces may out-do Mention for  providing intricate details, Thibaud Elziere’s team has built a near perfect cockpit for tracking what’s being said about you, your business, or any other keyword you may want to follow. The screenshot above shows my Mention dashboard when comparing some client and friend brands to one another.

While it’s important for business people and even individual influencers to understand the full capabilities of this tool, it’s far more important for the reader to grasp what is possible using it. As for the key functions of Mention, here are just a few of the things users can leverage.

  • Mention can be used from anywhere, and on virtually any device. From the web app, the Chrome app, the desktop version for PC, a Mac or Linux or mobile version, and  with the iPhone or Android apps.
  • With Mention you can monitor millions of sources in 42 languages. Plus, Mention allows you to listen to anything published on social networks, news sites, forums, blogs or any web page.
  • Mention lets your team work together for monitoring your brands. Share alerts, assign tasks, reply via assignment or collectively to tweets etc.,  get specific members to comment on a blog post, and then keep track of all these actions.
  • Real-time – Mention pushes notifications at you as they happen allowing brand advocates and managers to react instantly. (see ComTranslations and Philbo account add below)
  • Retweet, react, and go – Mention let’s users engage via their own Facebook and Twitter accounts so they don’t have to leave the app to respond.
  • Artificial intelligence – Mention filters by learning about user behavior for an overall more streamlined feed of media awareness.
  • Export-report - Mention lets you show the media madness of your brands via snapshots of analytics. Generate PDFs, spreadsheets, and more.


Now that you’ve got an idea of Mention being a worthwhile and inexpensive ($6.99 / month for three languages)  media analysis tool, let’s get to the really good stuff anyone can do to leverage it.

ComTranslations and Mention

Longtime client ComTranslations allowed us to test with Mention platform – above I simply add my Twitter and retweet direct from the Mention platform our client’s interests.

Talking AND Listening – Measuring With Mention

If I were looking for a perfect test case scenario for understanding how to measure the various media streams PR and marketing people must monitor, few examples would outshine a recent Nordic Choice Hotels news bit. Since we are in the travel PR business, studying how stories make their curcuit, this is the Holy Grail of showing the real value of PR. Case in point, hotel tycoon Petter Stordalen and the intersection of super key-terms. Here’s the story on a fairly massive hospitality mention bonanza, pay attention.

On August 14th PR Newswire delivered to my inbox a press release in German concerning a hotel group owner, Petter Stordalen, making the decision to remove pornography from his hotels’ TV offering. Without going into the underlying specifics, for marketing and media purposes billionaires, pornography, and hotel rooms are wonderful keywords atop brilliant guest interest capacity there. Add to this a relative “exclusive reporting” aspect and Nordic Choice’s decision to do something about child abuse is big news. So I created a “Nordic Choice” notifier on Mention, then set to work reporting on Stordalen’s efforts.

Before this August 14th report on Stordalen’s pornography campaign, the hotel owner had a smattering of media mentions that talked about mostly his jet setting “green” initiatives, trust me, there were just a few like this story on a somewhat popular Australian site. But before I go on, I am at this minute tracking down these stories on Mention, in order to show the timeline of PR value here. Back to the timeline, below is what happened in rough chronological order:

  1. The several press releases come out.
  2. We ran the first non-press release story in English worldwide
  3. The story was tweeted and retweeted and shared via SM by the several of our channels
  4. Magnus S. Rønningen, Founder of elite Norwegian PR firm NICHE AS, RTs (embedded below) the our story
  5. I contacted Nordic Choice for an exclusive quote from Stordalen
  6. My partner Mihaela reports exclusive on Epoch Times travel blog
  7. Our Argophilia Travel News article runs with premium image use
  8. More social media leverage is applied as PR Newswire distribution continues to proliferate
  9. My friend Chris Abraham tweets “tacky ghost” article to 44,00o key followers
  10. After days of social media semi-viral sharing The Guardian picks up the story
  11. Former USA Today travel writer Barbara Delollis (now ReviewPro marketing guru) tweets the story
  12. The trail of social media and traditional media mentions continues to today
The overview of Nordic Choice media mentions

The overview of Nordic Choice media mentions

Obviously, a lot of intricate interactions took place during the course of this somewhat viral media event. Some of the interconnections, we will probably never know honestly. I contacted Nordic Choice the other day to try and include actual conversion metrics for this report, but heard nothing back from their PR people. As is always the case where earned and paid media outreach is concerned, cards are played very closely to the chest. I do know that Barbara Delollis is a super influential social media and media person, now the head of ReviewPro’s marketing aspect, which I believe represents Nordic Choice, or once did.

Regardless of who is involved really, and whether or not the reader is impressed with my own “optimization” of media and tools, it’s pretty clear already that a monetary value for categorizing public relations is easily possible. Every day we work on better ways to show clients the “extended ” value of PR and storytelling. Tracking this story using Mention, form its origins at the PR Newswire press releases in various languages, through a bit of “over coverage” on our channels, and on through Guardian author Helen Russell and her influence in social media, the evolution of the most recent Nordic Choice case is significant.

So far 43 blogs have covered the story of billionaire Petter Stordalen’s effort to clean up the acts of the hotel business. There have been 26 news mentions from our own sites to The National Catholic Register (from the Guardian), there has been nearly 300 Twitter mentions (no telling how many thousands of eyeballs those reached), and 119 web mentions since August 14th. So to sum up, if one had to look at a single metric to correlate with hotel bookings, a 3,400% increase in Twitter activity for Nordic Choice is a good starting point.


August 14th led to August 25th which led to today. Social Media window Mention

Finally, even with some missing key puzzle pieces such as correlative booking figures, exact path mention tracking, and some forms of predictive media analysis, monitoring actions and resulting feedback is now possible for not only public relations firms, but individuals as well. What Mention ends up being is a human powered influence and intuition tool. We’re now working with several hotels for proving out direct channel mastery of a sort, and we’ll be bringing you reports on these soon. As for Nordic Choice and Petter Stordalen? The trend above died down a bit, so all they need is some continual mention juice to keep the Scandinavian chain fired up. Oh, but I just made a mention, didn’t I?

We’ll report on this lever in a month. Until then, start clapping for proven PR juice, it’s here. Meanwhile I’m off to tweet @MsHelenRussell to track down mention origins. Stay tuned.


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