Benchmarking is a PR-technology, which is focused on the models in the certain industry.
One of the most common benchmarking definitions is suggested by Sam Bookhart:
Benchmarking is the standard of excellence or achievements against which relevant indicators are evaluated.
Today in PR practice several types of benchmarking are distinguished.
Competitive benchmarking - analysis of the success of doing business in competing companies based on information that they disseminate themselves , as well as information from customers and contractors. In order to identify the main competitors, it is necessary to analyze media information in order to find mentions of certain companies activities.
Functional benchmarking involves the comparison of individual functions and stages of business processes. This may include, for example, the order of holding a press conference, the types and technologies of research in PR, the procedure for interacting with clients or contractors in PR agencies, the procedure for interacting with PR agencies by the companies public relations services.
Interindustry benchmarking is a study of the situation in competing, model companies and PR agencies for comparison of interindustry functions, such as organizational and technical support within a PR agency or a PR division of a company, as well as the management structure within the studied company as a whole.
Internal benchmarking is aimed at comparing the activities of departments or PR specialists of the same profile within the company, identifying and disseminating successful experience.
Stages of benchmarking
Benchmarking events can be divided into four main stages.
- identification of the benchmarking subject;
- identification of the benchmarking partner;
- Determination of data collection method;
- Data collection;
- identification of discrepancies important from the point of view of ensuring competitiveness;
- planning future performance indicators;
- the message of results;
- definition of functional goals;
- development of an action plan;
- implementation of plans and monitoring results;
- re-check of the benchmarking checkpoints;
In the selection process of a model company, there are a few key points to remember:
- You should always rely on a full analysis of the model company activities. Before starting the analysis, you must be completely confident in the correctness of the choice made. This means that the company must be acceptable to conduct a study of its activities.
- It is necessary to have a clear plan for selecting a model company and follow the plan all the time.
- When collecting information about a model company, one should always adhere to the framework of legality and good faith in obtaining information.
Thus, we can conclude that benchmarking is an important part of strategic planning and improvement of PR activities. Benchmarking will undoubtedly bring great benefit to companies as long as it is used in accordance with the described approach to its conduct.