It is quite common knowledge that the Hispanic population in the U.S. has grown immensely and become a very important target group for business and non-profit organizations working in the country. “With the nation’s Hispanic population now topping 50 million people — or 16.3 percent of the nation — according to the latest U.S. Census, the importance of catering to Spanish-speaking media cannot be underplayed” (Metinko, 2012). At the same time, the attempts to reach the Hispanic population appear to pose a number of challenges. It has been proved that in order to increase the numbers of the Hispanic community PR specialists need to apply non-standard methods and design strategies specifically oriented to the Hispanic population.
The ROPE model of public relations is one of the PR frameworks that is aimed at tackling problematic issues through knowledge. ROPE model serves specifically for preparing and exercising targeted PR campaigns. This is one of the best ways to approach the problem faced by each. The acronym stands for Research, Objectives, Programming, and Evaluation what emphasizes the main feature of the model, i.e. having research in the basis. These four words identify the stages of the PR campaign based on ROPE model (Hendrix, Hayes, & Kumar, 2012).
The first stage is the research which implies examining the existing studies and/or arranging new research in order to gather the information about the target group, such as an aging part of Hispanic population. There are a number of research projects devoted to the peculiarities of the Hispanic population providing valid data on the number of the Hispanics, and peculiarities of this community. The PR campaign aimed at engaging the Hispanic population should definitely employ the results of the studies focused on the Hispanic community. The relevant data may include a number of elderly Hispanics, their health status including the information on the most widespread diseases among them, their financial status, their language status, mass media, and mass media products favored by the Hispanics, etc. The results of the research should show strengths and weaknesses of the target group. These data will create a solid background for PR campaign that will be able to reach the target group, the elderly part of the Hispanic population (Hendrix, Hayes & Kumar, 2012, pp. 12-14).
The next step is to formulate objectives or determine goals of the campaign. In PR, “objectives are viewed as the central and guiding element in the process, and they are arranged in hierarchical order” (Hendrix, Hayes &Kumar, 2012, p. 22). Th?s? obj?ctiv?s should targ?t th? audi?nc? and m?diums id?ntifi?d during th? r?s?arch phas? and should b? d?sign?d to inform or modify b?havior of th? audi?nc?. Obj?ctiv?s could b? incr?asing participation of the representatives of the Hispanic community by a c?rtain p?rc?ntag?, incr?asing satisfaction or approval rating, improving their health state through participating in EACH making targ?t audi?nc? att?nd an ?v?nt or oth?r quantitativ? or qualitativ? goals. A very important objective of the campaign should be involving Spanish-speaking community with the help of the Spanish language as long as resistance to English or mere lack of speaking skills is one of the most obvious obstacles in increasing the Hispanic population, especially its elderly part (Metinko, 2012).
The next stage is improve programming. It suggests working on campaign activities. Programs could includ? sp?cial ?v?nts, such as a conf?r?nc?, s?minar, an interactive activity, etc. Th?y could includ? th?m? and m?ssag? obj?ctiv?s involving a m?dia campaign with adv?rtising, n?ws r?l?as?s, public s?rvic? announc?m?nts, story pitch?s, broadcast int?rvi?ws, social m?dia, blogging, dir?ct mail and/or ?ditorials. For example, Self Reliance Foundation (SRF) works “with Hispanic Communications Network, who boasts a network of over 240 affiliated Spanish-language radio stations throughout the country, and over 100 affiliated newspapers” (SRF, n.d.). It is worth involving a local organization working with the Hispanic population and cooperating with Hispanic grassroots initiatives. In order to contact Hispanics through media one needs to use Spanish-language or Hispanic-oriented mass media channels in the first place. It can be TV channels, radio channels, newspapers, etc. Internet and social networks which play a significant role in today’s PR world. Internet and especially the campaign performed with the help of social networks help to make the process more targeted.
One of the most important steps of the campaign should be hiring Spanish translator who will be responsible for translating the website and promo materials such as leaflets, booklets, presentations, news-letters, etc., in order to make the organization’s activities more understandable for those who have problems with the English language. It is worth providing Spanish-language service in other communication channels like toll-fr?? information and r?f?rral hotlin?, SMS t?xting n?twork, and others (SRF, n.d.).
The fourth step of the ROPE model is to prepare evaluation of the discussed above process. After a PR campaign is executed, it should be measured. Evaluation of the campaign should target the effectiveness of the organized campaign and identify not only its strengths and successes, but also its weaknesses and the room for improvement. Evaluation should take into account whether the obj?ctiv?s w?r? quantitativ? in natur? and th? numb?rs can b? m?asur?d to s?? if goals w?r? m?t. Oth?r ways of ?valuation ar? audi?nc? polls and surv?ys, numb?r of m?dia hits and att?ndanc? at an ?v?nt. Und?rstanding th? ?ff?ctiv?n?ss of your campaign allows you to plan futur? programming or tw?ak ?xisting campaigns to g?t b?tt?r r?sults (Hendrix, Hayes& Kumar, 2012, pp. 41-42).