Everyone should communicate using the PESO model (yes, including the governor)

Recently, Gov. Dunleavy launched a new weekly newsletter and podcast. The format was what you’d expect, with summaries of the week’s press releases, photos of him at various events, and interviews in which he explains or elaborates on various public policy issues. 

Predictably, it took all of five minutes before criticism of “state propaganda” and “misuse of public dollars” emerged on social media. Politics being what it is these days (read: vicious and awful), this came as no surprise. What did surprise me, however, was how few people failed to acknowledge or perhaps understand the governor’s use of basic tools included in the now industry-standard PESO model. In other words, why all the fuss?

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Civility is dead. We’re working to bring it back.

Anyone watching the Anchorage Assembly meetings lately has seen firsthand how civil discourse has gone out the window. While public officials have always been subjected to angry constituents, historically Assembly meetings didn’t degrade into a yelling match, complete with name-calling and slurs. Similarly, elected officials can be found saying appalling things from the safety of their social media accounts, where it is easy to be witty and smug at the expense of those with whom they disagree.

In short, it’s a mess.

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Breaking down the difference between PR and publicity

I’ve worked in the public relations field for more than 20 years. 

Despite helping clients in crisis, hosting more press conferences than I can count, and planning communications for the rollout of major statewide initiatives, I still meet people who refer to me as a “publicist.” I don’t take offense because few people outside the industry know the difference between publicity and public relations. 

The first thing to understand is major differences exist between the two. And the differences are as large as the gulf between people who like pineapple on their pizza and those who do not. Read More

Trust is not a zero-sum game

As I watched the late-night floor sessions of the Alaska State Legislature before they adjourned earlier this month, one thing became crystal clear: Trust had absolutely collapsed. Zero trust existed between the different coalitions, among many of the members, or between the House and Senate. Read More

Straight talk: How to communicate effectively with employees about the COVID-19 vaccine

With the COVID-19 vaccine readily available for almost anyone who wants one, employers are searching for ways to talk to employees about vaccination in a way that is respectful but clear. Employers who want their workforce to vaccinate can make or break their chances of achieving office-wide herd immunity depending on how they communicate their intentions and engage employees. In simple terms, it’s easy to screw up. Read on for tips about how to communicate effectively in a way that inspires confidence and builds trust.
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Alaska’s women legislators give advice

The Alaska State Legislature is made up of 60 people. Of the 60 legislators serving today, 18 are women, or 30% of the total. As we close out Women’s History Month, we asked Alaska’s women legislators for the best advice they received on being a female in public service. Here are their words to the wise.
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What Bernie’s mittens can teach us about newsjacking

Last month, an image became impossible to miss on social media: Senator Bernie Sanders, sitting uncomfortably outside in a chair at the presidential inauguration, bundled up and wearing homemade, knitted mittens. The image went viral on its own, but it wasn’t until the image was newsjacked that it really took off. 
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