During the course of my public relations training, I’ve studied a four-step process dubbed “RPIE.”

The four steps are:

R = Research

P = Planning

I = Implementation

E = Evaluation.

The research phase is intended to ensure that a client or organization builds its campaign based upon valid assumptions and informed insight, not guesses or speculation. Research activities that happen during this phase may include electronic surveys, interviews with clients or stakeholders, reviewing social media posts and conversation, poring over online analytics, focus groups or public opinion surveys, to name a few.

Many clients and organizations attempt to skip the research phase and jump straight into planning. Some even skip planning and jump head-first into implementation. They either think they already know what the research will tell them, don’t want to spend the money, or are too impatient to work through the process. While their campaigns may ultimately still succeed, they have a better chance if based on accurate information and research-informed assumptions.

This morning, we held a Zoom call to review the results of a public opinion survey with an association client’s board of directors. The purpose of this survey was to gain insight into the public’s opinion of the client’s industry and the services its members provide. The insight gained will help the association shape its legislative advocacy messaging and may also be useful to the association’s members in their marketing. With the information obtained in this survey, the association now has real data it can use to develop its messaging rather than unfounded assumptions and speculation.

Frank Williams is president of Pioneer Strategies, a public relations and strategic communication firm based in Leland.

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