RK Venture

Blog Entry

ZeroProof, New Mexico’s underage drinking awareness campaign, is getting national attention. RK Venture’s campaign combats the serious problem of underage drinking which can cause a host of problems including traffic fatalities and crashes.

Last year the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) presented at the 2017 Strategic Communications Forum in Washington D.C. to communicate our state’s plans and network with our colleagues. The National Law Enforcement Liaison Program (NLELP) were impressed by the ZeroProof campaign, its unique positioning and strategy, and chose to publish it as their lead article in the Law Enforcement Liaisons (LELs) newsletter, a publication whose mission is to promote national highway safety programs, initiatives and campaigns.

RK's Top 5 Surprising Facts

Common sense has its uses. But do we rely on it too much? Sometimes things seem so obvious — and intuition is a good starting point — but to fully serve our clients, we need to test our intuition and be methodical in our research. We’ve had some surprises along the way with statistics we wouldn’t have guess that can help inform our campaigns.

1. Parents’ disapproval of youthful alcohol use is the key reason children choose not to drink. 
We know the role of parents is important, but we didn’t know it was so influential. Parents didn’t know this either. They put themselves on the bottom of the list when asked what influenced their kids most when it came to drinking. Turns out they underestimated themselves big time. So instead of just targeting teens and tweens about the dangers of underage drinking, we need to pay attention to the parents as well.

2. It can take a freight train a full mile or more to brake – even after it has hit something. That's nearly 18 football fields to stop.
Even if he does see someone or something on the tracks, an engineer can't stop in time. Metrolink’s mascot for safety, Smarty, has been advising about the dangers of railroad tracks for years. This one fact is astounding.

3. Licensed establishments produce 58 percent of DWI arrests in New Mexico.
RK Venture launched Buzzkill, an awareness campaign, in 2016 with the goal to curb over serving alcohol by servers and sellers. This statistic shows just how important that is. If we can help stop people from being over served at restaurants or sold alcohol at stores when intoxicated, we can reduce crashes from impaired driving.

4. Texting while driving makes you 23X more likely to crash.
Wow. Just wow. No need to tell us driving and texting is dangerous. We all know that. But 23x more likely to crash? That’s stunning!

5. 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising
We know that social media plays a large role in how millennials interact on a daily basis. We know we need to reach them where they are. What we can learn from this is that the messaging has to be authentic and informational rather than just persuasive. This is a smart group.

Research, facts, statistics and studies play a large role in how we approach the campaigns for our clients. Research based on empirical evidence, peer reviewed studies, surveys, scientific studies and published articles are all collected and factored into strategies to determine who our target audience is, how to connect to them and what form of communication will resonate most with them — not necessarily to manipulate, but to focus the conversation where we want it. This can save lives (as in the case with the New Mexico Department of Transportation and our efforts to end drunk driving), educate people about alternative transportation (as with Metrolink), improve attendance at events (New Mexico State Fair), and share some pretty cool products and services (Villa Myriam and Ardham).

We all have anecdotes, but only through research do we gain a new and more accurate perspective. Actors and writers will do research when developing characters and content to add nuance to their performances and scripts. Likewise, these little nuances can help in a campaign, where a small detail might resonate with someone. It’s all about connection.

As a lot of research can go into creating a campaign, a lot of research can then go into testing its effectiveness. The homework doesn’t stop at the launch of a campaign. It continues through and after its duration.

Media buying also requires ample research. We need to reach people where they are. As more and more people are getting their news and entertainment through non-traditional means, social media has become a vital means of communication.

We like to credit things we already know as being axiomatic. Truth is, it’s easier to see the obviousness of the facts after the research. That’s why it’s so important to do research, as much as possible and as often as possible.

Rachel Kennedy