GAINESVILLE, Fla., Oct. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Four companies that are major buyers of public relations research and measurement services have adopted the first round of standards proposed by an international coalition leading the development of such standards. The corporations requiring public relations research providers to meet the standards include General Electric, McDonald's USA, General Motors and Southwest Airlines. "This is a significant, strategic step forward for the public relations industry as we strive to establish more meaningful and consistent data and metrics," said Molly McKenna, Director of Public Relations, McDonald's USA. "Consistent standards will help researchers, agencies and brands move further to better connect PR outputs with business outcomes." The Coalition for Public Relations Research was formed in 2012 to create a platform of standards for research and measurement. "Basing our process on the recommendations of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), we said from the beginning that customers like these corporations are the final arbiters of when a standard is ready to move forward," said David Geddes, coalition chair and principal of Geddes Analytics. The first set of adopted standards covers traditional media measurement, digital and social media measurement, communications lifecycle (awareness, knowledge, intent, preference, and advocacy), and return on investment. In addition to McKenna, the customer panel members include Linda Rutherford, Vice President of Communication & Outreach, Southwest Airlines; Jackie Matthews, Communications Research Strategist for General Motors; and Gary Sheffer, Vice President-Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, General Electric. The Coalition was formed to create a broad platform of standards and best practices for public relations research, measurement and evaluation. The participating organizations include the Public Relations Society of America, the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, the Institute for Public Relations, the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, the Council of Public Relations Firms, and The Conclave.