“Privatization of our water systems is a threat to democracy and the common good. Topos Partnership understands that and created tools for advocates to fight off attempts by private interests to take control of our water and to advance the larger ideals and values of the public good.” ~ Donald Cohen, Executive Director, In The […]
About Topos Partnership
Founded by veteran communications strategists Axel Aubrun and Joe Grady of Cultural Logic, and Meg Bostrom of Public Knowledge, Topos has as its mission to explore and ultimately transform the landscape of public understanding where public interest issues play out. Our approach is based on the premise that while it is possible to achieve short-term victories on issues through a variety of strategies, real change depends on a fundamental shift in public understanding. Topos was created to bring together the range of expertise needed to understand existing issue dynamics, explore possibilities for creating new issue understanding, develop a proven course of action, and arm advocates with new communications tools to win support.
Metaphors can be indispensable tools for conveying complex or abstract ideas in simple, vivid and sticky ways. This Framing Science Brief discusses the power of metaphorical language and imagery, and the challenge of getting it right. Read and download it here.
Negating or refuting a statement is less effective than we think – and it can even end up reinforcing exactly the wrong perspectives.
The upcoming debate over funding for the NEA is an opportunity for advocates to build broader support and shift thinking about the arts as a public good. Here are some tips.
The most effective communicators on fast food strikes connect the issue to “all of us” in four ways….
The common sense idea that thriving communities and a strong economy depend on employers providing reasonable compensation for work has the power to lift a range of job quality solutions.
Recent wins on minimum wage campaigns suggest we’re at a tipping point on raising minimum wage.
We may be better off not using the word “inequality” as a leading idea, and using other words for now.
A review of our recent research findings on how to clarify for people why raising the minimum wage is good for all of us.
A new “Simply-Put” video provides a brief illustration of how to make the core points emerging from Topos research on communicating job quality, including minimum wage and paid sick days.
Should advocates reference inequality and a new CBO paper when promoting policy solutions? Maybe not.
Building support by animating the research on reducing our use of oil.
Topos is often invited to share our work on reframing privatization with groups that are on the front lines of countering efforts to shift public assets and public responsibilities to private companies. Topos has found that when the topic of privatization is framed simply as an issue of cost effectiveness, average people assume that private enterprise […]
Close Up vs. Big Picture Stories: The Role of Individual Examples in Advocacy Communications Research and real-life experience, plus perspectives from the social and cognitive sciences, tell us that “putting the face on the story” can often backfire. In this memo, we explore the reasons why this approach can go so wrong – from diverting […]
It’s important for advocates to continue the framing of minimum wage as good for the entire economy, or “all of us”. As it becomes entrenched, the idea that higher wages advance workers, communities and the economy, will inoculate against “job killer” attacks and allow progressives to be on offense, not defense.
Congratulations to Saru Jayaraman for a successful launch of her new book, Behind the Kitchen Door!
Informed citizens are the foundation of effective democracy, but informing citizens depends on providing the context for issues that most mass media neglect
Recent spotlight on the correlation between leaded gas and violent crime offers lessons for communicators.
When is a “win” not a win?
Topos is going global: Joe in Japan and Margy in South Africa.
Writing in The Nation, reporter Greg Kaufmann updates readers on the national campaign to include discussion of poverty policy in the Presidential debates. He interviewed Topos Senior Fellow Margy Waller about reframing the public dialogue. Waller said research suggests that the way we usually talk about poverty—even using the words “poverty” and “welfare” themselves—“makes most people think […]