Introduction: The Ohio Department of Transportation, involving 17 Rideshare groups, is planning to have a Rideshare Week. The objective is to increase participation in carpooling and the use of mass transit during this special week. A long-term objective, of course, is to increase the number of people who carpool and use mass transit. My PR firm has been tasked with promoting the Ohio Rideshare Week. The campaign will include a news conference with the governor to encourage participation. Other deliverables include press kits, news releases, and interviews on talk shows, special promotional events, and distribution of literature to major businesses.
Evaluation Efforts: Evaluation is the systematic assessment of a program and its results, where the firm must measure the results of the campaign against the objectives that were set in the planning phase. Evaluation is important in the Ohio Rideshare Week campaign, because it will show how effective the program was, identify areas of improvement, and justify the PR budget.
Audience Action: In order to measure the changes in audience’s behaviors, a measurement of audience action would have to take place.
The objectives for this campaign are to increase the number of people carpooling and using mass transit during the week, and long term. In order to do that, metrics need to be gathered about the number of people using trains, buses, etc. for their commute. This needs to be done at 3 time intervals. Before the Rideshare week, right after the week is over, and 6 months later. This will give a good indication of the following:
Caution must be taken when using the information about after the week is over, because 6 months later the campaign can still be fresh, or a different season of the year may arrive.
A campaign of this magnitude needs to be wary of the danger of “losing steam.”
Gathering numbers for carpooling is a little bit different and can be more challenging. One way is to track traffic metrics on the busiest highways and intersections before, during and after the week. This can show how many less cars there are on the road, meaning that people are carpooling more. A survey can also be done of the 5 largest businesses in the 5 largest cities in Ohio, asking how many of their employees shared a ride on the way to work. Another suggestion for gathering data on carpooling would be the amount of gallons of gasoline purchased before, during, and after the rideshare week. This would show the decrease in consumption, leading the firm to believe that less driving is done on a per capita basis and more people are carpooling. Audience Attitude: In order for the attitude of the audience to be measured, and for the campaign to be truly successful, surveys need to be conducted. Surveys would be conducted before the rideshare week, during the rideshare week, and after. This would gauge people’s attitudes when they had no idea of the campaign, when interest is high and enthusiastic, and when the campaign is no longer trendy.
By doing this, the audience’s attitude can be judged with the following types of questions:
We believe that these questions will get the audience not only to relay valuable information, but also get them to think about the plausibility of ridesharing and how beneficial it can be for them. Once they have this mindset, they can start to see how beneficial it can be for the rest of the citizens of Ohio Once these surveys are done, their numbers should be released to the public on radio stations, as well as in print media. Once people know how few citizens are carpooling it can call them to take action and to not only decrease traffic and pollution, but to ease their monthly financial burdens as well. The drawbacks of doing the survey would most likely be that it is geared towards working adults.
It doesn’t account for team practices, concerts, events, and trips to the grocery store, etc. These are areas where parking can be an issue; a lot of back and forth driving everyday can be taking place, and large time expenses. In order to truly make this program successful the organization needs to plan for positive survey results and make sure that their strategy is in line with getting these objectives accomplished. In order to do that, the PR firm must promote with the state and figure out what is stopping people from implementing this program. If the citizens know that they will benefit from this, they will be very likely to start using mass transit as well as ridesharing and carpooling.