“What is…” Wednesday – What’s Your ‘Naughty?’
March 21, 2012
#MediaMonday – State Press Edition
March 26, 2012

Last week, during the PRSA Western District Conference, I was looking forward to a lot of things. However, the luncheon keynote from Dan Schnur, a former political commentator for CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and National Public Radio as well as a communications leader in many presidential campaigns and current USC professor, was NOT one of those things. With so many viewpoints in the room, I was worried that a politically charged speech would divide the group.

Boy was I wrong.

Dan, it turns out, is not only hilarious but found a way to slip in both LOST and Survivor into his speech, but he also left me with one of my biggest lessons, which I would like to share.

When communicating a message, there are really only THREE types of audiences:

  • Saints – those who are on your side and ready to fight for your cause no matter what
  • Sinners – those who are on the opposite side and ready to fight against you no matter what
  • Salvageables – those who see both sides and are willing to listen to your messages before making a decision on something either way

And here’s the thing – we spend way too much time and money on the saints and sinners.


We like to communicate to the saints, and should in order to keep them saintly, but tend to over-communicate to the group because it makes us feel good. They reinforce what we think is right.

Conversely, we over communicate to the sinners because we believe that somehow, someway WE can change their core beliefs. But here is the thing – we can’t. No, not even you.

Instead, we should be investing our time and resources in the salvageables – those who actually WANT more information so they can make an informed decision about our client, brand, product, candidate, issue, et al.

Love it. Loved Dan – even if he is a USC guy.

(Go Irish!)

Alison Bailin
Alison Bailin
Senior Account Executive Alison has a lot to say…about pretty much everything...all the time. From the current state of public relations to the social media impact on Shark Week to crisis communications in the sports world, Alison’s blogs are focused on “amusing through her PR musings,” and then some. Check out Alison's full bio

1 Comment

  1. Allison – I think Dan used to live in the Bay Area. I know, crazy – a Republican in the land of Nancy Pelosi? But I heard him speak at the Bay Area’s premiere group of senior PR pros, PR Roundtable and I agree. The guy was captivating – and funny. We should all approach life with the open mind of the salvageables.

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