Due to the vast increase in technology the public relations industry is advancing; however, it is still important to recognize and understand the history of public relations planning (Wilcox et al. 2013). According to Smith (n.d) there are four phases of planning: formative research, strategy, tactics and evaluation; this is is further supported by Luttrell (2013), who suggest following the RACE method. RACE is an acronym for research, action, communication and evaluation.
The first phase of research is analyzing the situation, without a clear picture of the issue it is not possible to research relevant information (Smith n.d). There are four main methods of research: primary, secondary, qualitative and quantitative. The purpose of collecting data from this research is to ensure that the correct message is communicated to the desired public (Wilcox et al. 2013).
According to Luttrell (2013) this step of the planning process is driven by the information obtained through the research phase. Action includes the identification of the target public, setting objectives, and seeking out resources for the implementation of strategies and tactics (Luttrell 2013).
According to Luttrell (2013), communication focuses on the responses and implementation of the plan. In this phase the desired strategy or message is shared with the target public by using a particular tactic. A tactic is the tool or medium used to deliver the message (Smith 2013).
Evaluation should be carried out through the entire planning process to ensure the campaign will work effectively (Luttrell 2013). According to Wilcox (2013) results are evaluated against the agreed-upon objectives that are established during planning. The success of the campaign can be evaluated along three standards: the success justifies the budget, the effectiveness of the program, and whether the objectives have been met (Wilcox 2013).
Luttrell, R 2013, An In-Depth Look at RACE: Creating a Public Relations Plan, 27, Communication Teacher.
Smith, RD 2013, Strategic planning for public relations, Routledge and the Taylor Francis group, Abigon, Oxon, New York City.
Wilcox, D, Cameron, G, Reber, B, Shin, JH 2013, THINK Public Relations, Pearson Education Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, United States of America.