Various changes in public relations have created numerous challenges and problems for business organizations, which now have to effectively manage their public relations. In order to cope with such changes new methods, models, and techniques have been developed to help organizations identify and solve public relations problems, for example, the Research, Objectives, Programming and Evaluation (ROPE) Model. According to Swann, ROPE Model is usually used by many organizations because it can be easily modified to fit specific situations or problem areas (2008). For instance, ROPE Model has been successfully used in solving problems relating to human resource management, formulation of strategic marketing techniques, new product development, and disaster management.
The ROPE Model refers to a technique for solving problems relating to public relations. ROPE is the acronym for Research, Objectives, Programming, and Evaluation. Swann explains that in ROPE Model, research involves the process of identifying key elements of public relations, namely clients, actual problem, and the public (2008). Objectives form the second part of the Model. Objectives refer to set goals that a particular program should achieve after solving the public relations problem. On the other hand, programming refers to the process of planning, coordinating, and executing various programs necessary for realization of the set objectives. Last but not least, evaluation entails continuous monitoring and examination of all programs used in solving a public relations problem. Evaluation also involves making adjustments to the programs used in solving the problem.
According to Swann (2008), each of the above elements of ROPE can be adjusted or altered depending on the goals or objectives of the organization, nature of the problem, and target audience. For example, shareholders may require a ROPE Model different from the one used by employees or customers.
ROPE Model in PepsiCo Company
In my view, a good example of an organization that has effectively used ROPE Model in its public relations is PepsiCo Company (http://www.pepsico.com). PepsiCo is a company based in the United States of America. It manufactures a variety of foods and beverages. Most of its products are branded Pepsi. In the beverages and food industry, PepsiCo manufactures Pepsi soft drink, which is the main competitor of Coke from Coca Cola Company. PepsiCo effectively used ROPE Model to develop its Pepsi Refresh Project (PRP) in the following ways.
Firstly, through intensive research, PepsiCo studied its past practices relating to public relations to identify various challenges it faced in implementation of public relations policies. It carried research about both existing and potential clients as well as organizational culture. Through intensive market researches, PepsiCo was able to identify various opportunities that were available in the soft drinks market. This helped to develop high quality products and formulate and implement marketing strategies that resulted into increased satisfaction of customers. Direct involvement of consumers into market research studies also helped to build strong customer relations. Increased satisfaction and interactions with customers increased sales volumes for Pepsi brands. According to Hendrix, Darrell, and Kumar, PepsiCo used both qualitative and quantitative research methods to collect data from target audiences (2010).
Secondly, the main objective of PepsiCo’s Pepsi Refresh Project (PRP) was to create awareness and inform customers about the availability of Pepsi brands in the market. The Pepsi Refresh Project was to generate adequate information and streamline information gathered to the target consumers. This could be effectively achieved through adequate advertising via media using both print and electronic media such as radio, television, newspapers, and magazines. Additionally, Pepsi Refresh Project aimed at creating effective communication and sharing of information between PepsiCo and its consumers. This helped to build trust between PepsiCo Company and customers, and consequently increased sales volume. Another objective of the project was to successfully reposition Pepsi brands in the soft drinks market. Pepsi Refresh Project was intended to increase the market share for Pepsi brands.
Thirdly, in programming Pepsi Refresh Project, PepsiCo devised various plans and programs for effective and efficient execution of Pepsi Refresh Project. It organized special events such as media campaigns to pass on information to target consumers. Additionally, PepsiCo Company formed partnerships with consumer organization and trade unions to be able to reach a big number of consumers. Most of the information was passed on to consumers through a variety of media such as magazines, newspapers, billboards and publicity. PepsiCo also built strong customer relations to facilitate interactions and sharing of ideas and information between the organization and customers. Penzkofer (2011) claims that PepsiCo Company also used social media such as Facebook and Twitter to spread information to its consumers about Pepsi Refresh Project and Pepsi brands. In my opinion, involvement of customers in the Pepsi Refresh Project enabled PepsiCo to gather adequate information relating to market dynamics such as changes in consumer tastes and preferences, socio-cultural beliefs, and practices and individual values. This facilitated the ability of the company to develop new high quality products that were able to easily meet and exceed expectations of consumers. In certain cases, PepsiCo Company also used high profile personalities and celebrities to promote the Pepsi Refresh Project (Bachmeier, 2009). This had great influence on target consumers, especially youths. Direct involvement of clients and customers also facilitated receipt of immediate responses to challenges faced by consumers in the market.
Finally, an evaluation of Pepsi Refresh Project revealed that the project successfully created desired awareness amongst consumers in the soft drinks market. Capparell estimates that sales volumes of Pepsi brands rose by more than 32 percent after full implementation of the Pepsi Refresh Project within a period of one year (2011). Pepsi Refresh Project thus effectively made customers regularly consume Pepsi brands and other products of PepsiCo. For example, it was estimated that nearly one million people rated Pepsi Refresh Project as the most innovative online campaign advertising project.
In conclusion, it can be argued that PepsiCo successfully used ROPE Model in Pepsi Refresh Project. Adequate research was carried out before development of the project. Similarly, clearly stated objectives were set and effectively achieved using well designed and clearly defined programs. An evaluation of the project after its completion revealed that it was excellent and very successful. Pepsi Refresh Project campaign made Pepsi the most reputable brand for several years.