When it comes to communication and engagement, every issue has its own unique set of opportunities and obstacles.
The Topos partners bring together years of research and strategic success across the entire spectrum of public interest issues: from global warming to nuclear weapons, children’s health and sustainable food systems; from good governance and privatization to immigration, unionization and rural development; and from energy policy to racial disparities.
In every issue area, communications, advocacy and outreach can struggle when audiences are not engaged or responding as positively as they should. Below are a few examples to illustrate our own work in these kinds of challenging situations.
If Americans lose faith in government to solve problems, it becomes more difficult to achieve policy successes across a wide range of critical issues. But the right framing can engage people with the idea that government is an important public tool for promoting the common good.
Americans are angry about the corrupting influence of money in politics, but they are also cynical about the likelihood of reform. The right framing gets people engaged and feeling hopeful about government.
While people are sympathetic to low wage workers’ financial struggles, they also believe businesses can’t afford to pay more right now. It is critical to frame job quality policy as a way to improve the economy.
We need to revive unionization and collective bargaining as accessible, common sense solutions for working Americans.
Public perceptions of poverty make it exceedingly difficult to achieve policy changes necessary to improve the lives of low-wage working families, but the right framing mobilizes public support.
Overall, the American public has frustratingly low levels of concern about climate change. Talking about the issue in ways that connect the dots can be one of the most helpful strategies for engaging new support.
Getting people to see taxes in a different light can help clear the path for progressive reforms.
New research confirms the effectiveness of grounding child and youth advocacy in stories about solutions, not problems.
Most Americans prefer not to look too closely at the damaging and unsustainable aspects of their food supply system.
Handing over control of public institutions and structures to private companies may seem like a good idea at first glance.
Building support for non-proliferation means recasting our own nuclear weapons as a problem rather than a solution.