Last night Professor Jasso walked us through the four-step process referring to the PR campaign practice, including:
- Defining the problem or opportunity
- Planning and programming
- Taking action and communicating
- Evaluating the program
The class seemed to be so theoretical that some of us might find it less interesting than usual. I had the same experience in my second year of university. My professor spent a whole year teaching us this four-step process. She wanted us to understand accurately and comprehend the significance of those steps by analyzing several events and breaking them up into pieces to see the depths in each step. I thought that it was unnecessary to take such a long time to learn it.
However, I didn’t know I was wrong until I entered into the professional world. Even though in the day-to-day work, we didn’t usually explicitly indicate each step, we did follow the four-step process for every campaign and event and also for the long-term annual plan of each year:
- Research: conducting investigations of the market environment, media angles, and familiar case studies to define the most primary issue we are going to solve, avoid making the same mistakes as others did, as well as save time and effort in fixing the mistakes
- Planning: based on the research study, setting the overall goal, objectives, strategies, and programs
- Action: delivering the programs with crafted messaging, selected channels and scheduled actions
- Evaluation: time-consuming but necessary to have a thorough review of the whole execution process, and to learn from strengths and weaknesses to improve ourselves
Each step is indispensable, and they link with each other as an integrated system. Missing any step will make an impact on the result, and sometimes it could be fatal.
(Picture credit: https://adamevenevenadam.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/grounded/)
Wernher von Braun said: “Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.” Unfortunately, research is the step that we usually easily overlook or get through carelessly, but nevertheless is a prerequisite for successful planning. It will help us learn what we didn’t know before and understand what we are experiencing now internally and externally. It also guarantees that we will set a realistic goal, select effective strategies, and find the right track to follow to achieve the goal. Once we’ve done this step, we will have the confidence to move to the planning phase, conduct the programs and have criteria to evaluate the programs.