Thursday, August 15, 2013


By Rod C. Estrera

Issue No. 006 – 15 August 2013

The R.A.C.E. And A.C.E. Principles In Communication Strategy And Planning


Welcome back again! This is now the sixth issue of my new Blog Series on Basic Public Relations and Corporate Communication lessons, tips and insights for Industry Professionals and interested Non-Practitioners. Feel free to visit and re-visit the first to fifth issues (01, 04, 09, 15 and 22 July) here on my Blog Site. Many thanks once more to the readers who have sent feedback, either directly on this Blog or as comments on my social media posts providing links to my Blog. I will do what I can to utilize these.  I do regret that this issue took almost three weeks since the last one. Things have been rather toxic at my regular day job. Someday, I may talk about it, but I have an internal policy to avoid citing case studies from past and present employers, unless such particulars are already public knowledge. If I do discuss these, I will only deal with objective facts.

In our last issue (Issue No. 5), we concluded “The Four Key Questions” that need to be asked and addressed in the preparation of every Communication Plan, be it for PR, Advertising, Marketing, Corporate Communication, Special Events or even for Crisis Communication. We then segued to the development of our Communication Plan and began to touch on the Basic “R.A.C.E.” Formula, as originally introduced by John Marston and reinforced by Dennis Wilcox, and recapped as follows:

·        Research (or the Listening Stage) – What is the problem or situation?
·        Action (or Program Planning) – What is going to be done about it?
·        Communication (or Execution) – How will the audience/public be told?
·        Evaluation – Was the audience reached and what was/were the effect/s? 

Like I said last time, different organizations, authors and executives utilize variations of the above, but R.A.C.E. will continue to be a universal general outline. We will revert to and discuss the various aspects of this formula every now and then, moving forward.

What about the “A.C.E. Principle” (or rather “A.A. – C.C. – E. Principle”) in Communication Planning I mentioned last time. As I have been teaching my college students throughout the years, this acronym represents the escalating stages of what we want to achieve with our audience (or target market, for marketing efforts). A great number of my industry colleagues who use this principle, which stands for:

A – AWARENESS. Obviously, this first phase is the information stage to make our audience know or know more about your product, company, politician or advocacy.  This is followed by…

A – ACCEPTANCE. Our goal here is to ensure, through effective persuasion, that not only does our audience know, but also accept that we are promoting is valid (i.e., “I know and accept that ‘Brand X’ Shampoo is a worthwhile product or that Mr. John Smith is a potentially good Senate candidate, etc.).

C – CONVICTION. Once our audience accepts what we are advocating, we next need to “convince” them to purchase such a product or vote for our candidate, as the case may be. This is the “call-to-action” that is key in all communication efforts and campaigns. Our audience is now determined to act in our favor.

C – CONVERSION. By this time, our original or initial audience is now in the “word-of-mouth” or “viral” phase. Instead of our relying on an expensive celebrity endorser, our audience is now doing this for us by “spreading the good word” about us and convincing their family, friends and colleagues to also patronize what we are promoting.

E – ENDEARMENT. Now, all of the above are simply not enough. Our efforts should not stop there. We should not be merely content with one-time actions or transactions. What’s next then? In Marketing, this is referred to as the “Repeat Purchase.” Our target market loves our product so much that they are willing to come back for more (or more variants of our product). In politics, they are willing to re-elect our candidate or see him/her in another or higher government post. Our communication here involves both reminder and reinforcement. Our audience should not just return because they have no choice, but more importantly because they ardently and passionately wish to.

Do continue to stay tuned for my next issue in a few days’ time, hopefully much sooner than the long wait for this issue. We will look at another easy-to-remember acronym I have personally created – “C.C.P.” – which is what I continuously and strongly espouse and advocate among my college students and seminar participants if they want to secure a job or get ahead in their careers, more so for those in the various Communication fields. Again, I do hope these easy-to-remember topics prove to be useful for both my fellow PR/Communication Professionals and our Clients/Bosses.

Thank you once more for your interest and patronage.  As always, may we all have a great and productive week and a fun and restful weekend ahead!
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