by John Trybus, Managing Director

To say Shonali Burke took an unconventional route to working in the public relations field is a bit of an understatement.

With an educational training in economics, Shonali was a professional actress and director in India prior to moving to the United States. Actress turned PR superstar? The transition may not be as strange as it sounds at first. “I feel the training that I went through gave me a lot of necessary experience for public relations,” Shonali says.

After making the transition, Shonali held a number of positions on both coasts of the U.S., including with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), where she helped to create the organization’s first PR department, as well as starting her own consulting practice.

Accolades for Shonali came pouring in along the way, including being named to PRWeek’s inaugural 40-Under-40 list and earning the nickname “the measurement maven” by one well-known practitioner. While her lists of accomplishments are many, after listening to my interview with Shonali I think you’ll agree she has rightfully earned another title: social strategist.

So why is this social strategist so passionate about the topic of measurement of all things?

“There’s nothing like knowing at the end of the day that you are making a difference,” but “if we’re not measuring our programs and campaigns…how do we know we’ve made a difference?” she says.

Here’s a preview of Shonali’s tips for good measurement practices:

  1. It’s not just about buzz or media impressions. Shonali believes that communicators are often caught up in the numbers when they try to evaluate a program. Successful measurement is about measuring the outcomes not just the outputs.
  2. Measurement doesn’t need to be difficult! Starting at the end with what you are trying to achieve – both from a business and communication standpoint – will help you determine what to measure, according to Shonali.
  3. Make measurement a sustainable practice. Shonali recommends starting small. “The simpler you make it the more likely it is that you’re going to enjoy doing – or get used to doing it – and want to do it further.”

Listen to my interview with Shonali Burke and read her blog, Waxing UnLyrical, to learn more about how to incorporate measurement into cause-based communication work.