Ceisler Media: Who we are & what we do

White megaphone on a blue background. What is Ceisler Media and what do we do?

Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. That’s two decades of helping clients through every step of their communications campaign. As we enter 2024, we look toward another two decades and beyond. 

I’ve been here for over 17 years, and there’s one question I hate being asked the most: “So, what is it that you do, exactly?” 

Well, in the simplest terms, what I do is wake up very early and stay up very late, no matter the day, juggling a lot of different issues all at once for a number of organizations and individuals who rely on me to work accurately and quickly, sorting through information to make a call or type out a statement or response on my smart phone or laptop, whether from a hotel lobby or a roadside rest stop far from home, and to deliver that message in a timely manner. 

It’s exciting. No two days are ever the same. 

But no one really wants to know what I do. What they really want to know is, “So, what does the firm do, exactly?” 

That’s easy. We manage issue advocacy campaigns and execute grassroots communications. 

(This is the point in the conversation where my late grandmother would usually say, “Well, isn’t that cute. Let’s have pie.” Others outside the business still do the same, minus the pie, usually over drinks.) 

Maybe it’s easier to explain what we don’t do. 

We don’t lobby directly, and we don’t do partisan political campaigns for individual candidates. We’re not exclusively a marketing or advertising agency. We’re certainly not a public relations firm — nothing against public relations. We’re not a digital data firm, or a social media influencer, or a website maintenance operation. 

Yet, we’re all those things. It may sound like we have an identity crisis. We don’t.

We know exactly what we do, and we do it well. Those who need us — and even those who don’t know they need us yet — know where to find us and how we can help.

This holds true even if we’re not advertising our services on a billboard or the back of a phone book (remember those?). 

Still confused? 

Well, in the simplest terms, what we do is run campaigns for issues just like some run campaigns for individuals. 

We identify supporters, build a coalition of stakeholders, work with them to develop a message and deliver it to the right audience at the right time, and we keep them unified and engaged throughout the process. (This is the grassroots part of what we do.) 

We use every tool available to us, too: earned media, paid media, social media. We build websites and manage digital assets. We help to draft remarks and testimony, and write releases, letters and fact sheets. We talk to reporters and give voice to your cause. (If you didn’t figure it out already, this is the communications part of our work.) 

Although we’re not a political operation, we understand politics, because … well, it’s Pennsylvania, where everything’s political … and we help our clients navigate red and blue interests alike. We work with lobbyists to ensure elected leaders and top officials who need to understand something get the message. 

We attend hearings and forums and townhalls and local municipal meetings — lots and lots of municipal meetings, because … well, again, it’s Pennsylvania, where there are a lot of local governments and they’re a big deal. 

You can’t do these things sitting in front of a computer or by cold calling from your cell phone. You need to be there in person, talking to people, looking at them eye to eye. We do that. (This is our advocacy work.) 

It’s exciting, sometimes exhausting, always rewarding. 

You may not always see or recognize our work behind an issue — no one outside Harrisburg really wants to know how the sausage is made, anyway — but that’s OK. 

It’s not about us. It’s about our clients, and being their advocate means we fully embrace the cause to help them achieve their goals. That’s what we do, exactly. 

Kurt Knaus is a Senior Vice President at Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy, based in our Harrisburg office.

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