States should develop and implement a comprehensive communications program that supports the priority policies and programs of the state. Before developing a communications plan, it is critical that the policies and programs be clearly defined and agreed upon by stakeholders.

Step One:  What is our state’s policy?

(NOTE: This applies to all areas, occupant protection, speed, teens, impaired driving, distraction, etc.)

Once the policies have been clearly defined, states should look at their programs.

Step Two:  Examine the programs

Step Three:  Strategic Planning

Step Four:  Tactical Planning

Step Five:  Evaluation—Determining your communications success


Communications should follow the policy and the program in order to have success. Developing a yearlong plan that allocates resources for creative, media, staff effort and evaluation allows those priority programs to flourish. If something didn’t work, re-examine it and rework your plan. The public and your audiences are always changing. Make sure you evaluate every step and work your plan.