This method was developed by John Marston in 1963, in his book The Nature of Public Relations. Marston took as a guide the principles of Management by Objectives, which Peter Druckerformalized in the early 1950s, and synthesized his method, applicable to both Communications and Public Relations, with the highly remembered acronym RACE that integrates his four key elements:
Research: without research we`ll be approaching our problem blindly. It is vital to ask about the nature of the organization's communication situation in order to determine a starting point based on data and not just from impressions or opinions. "There is no favorable wind for those who do not know where they are going," Seneca said in antiquity, and it remains a fundamental assumption for strategic planning.
Action: this point should be called Analysis and Action, given that from the analysis carried out in the previous stage we can identify the key communicational vectors of our organization situation and set goals (which are quantified general and specific objectives, in quantity and / or percentage) that strategically relate the organizational discourse with our audiences.
Communication:considering the results of the previous stages as our inputs, the message is created, channels are chosen, devices are designed, audiences are segmented and our communication strategy is deployed externally and internally, without losing sight of the fact that in the public sphere we are not alone and that it is, therefore,very important to consider interactions with other campaigns and messages.
Evaluation: Marston did not proposed a linear method, which is why it is usually called the "spiral method". This implies the non-compartmentalizationbetween the four stages referred and the importance of carrying out partial evaluations, which allow adapting and correcting the course, if necessary.Global evaluations of our planning are vital as well, so as to clearly determine our results, which will be an invaluable input for future campaigns.
Like all strategic planning processes, this method is deployed among Feasibility, which refers to the theoretical, technical, and operational availability of resources we need to carry out the proposed study; and Viability, related to the probability of carrying out the research process in relation to the political, social and organizational context.
It is very important that the professional in charge of the Communication Planning Process has special consideration in this regard, since the correct assessment of Feasibility and Viabilitywill facilitate the sustainability and positive growth of the organization`s reputation.
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