Saturday, February 11, 2012

Let Them Eat RPIE: Communication Planning

It's unclear who actually said the oft-quoted phrase, "Let them eat cake." This flippant phrase about consuming pastry is commonly attributed to Marie Antoinette, the frivolous queen in the days leading up to the French Revolution. She allegedly spoke the words upon hearing how the peasantry had no bread to eat. However biographers and historians have found no evidence to support the attribution.

What does that have to do with communication? Not much, really. I just thought it was a neat little bit of knowledge worth sharing. Plus, it made me think of pie.

Hungry for RPIE
The communication planning process of RPIE (Research, Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation) has been on my mind a lot lately. Listening to two local PR pros share their insights from their award-winning PR campaigns at the Ft. Worth PRSA luncheon this week, both speakers framed things using RPIE. At work, I have a number of plans for events and campaigns running right now, all using the RPIE template to keep us on track. And most recently, while preparing a presentation on social media issues and best practices for the 2012 TSPRA Conference next week, the RPIE process made yet another appearance.

So I figured it was again time to revisit RPIE and share some themes for the process. 

  • What do we know? 
  • What don’t we know? 
  • Who do we want to reach? What do we know about them? Where do we find them? What do we want them to do?
  • It starts with thinking about the people. 
  • School District Buyer Personas 
  • What do School Districts Sell?
  • Goals 
  • Measurable Objectives (who, what, by when, by how much) 
  • Strategies Tactics/Tools 
  • Notice the tactics/tools are the last thing before implementation
  • Execution of the plan or communicating 
  • Creative
  • Materials 
  • Budget 
  • Timeline 
  • Delivery
  • Actual messages sent through what channels? 
  • How many messages reached your targeted audiences? 
  • What monitoring tools will you use for execution?
  • Did you accomplish your objectives? Prove it. 
  • Identify ways to improve and recommendations for the future. 
  • Media hits are not measurement. 
  • Measure effectiveness of the program against objectives. 
  • Adjust the plan, materials, etc., before going forward. 
  • Can serve as research for the next phase or program. 
  • Were you able to get key messages out and heard?

Using the RPIE method (or similar methods) is a solid way to make sure your key messages have the greatest opportunities to reach your target audiences. It's also the foundation to determine what's working, what's not, and how to tell the difference.

Photo credit: mackenziedreadful via Flickr Creative Commons