The Participation Blog

What The Heck is a SOCO?!

Goldman Sachs – not exactly a bastion of liberal fervor – says, “We estimate that statewide mask mandates gradually raise the percentage of people who ‘always’ or ‘frequently’ wear masks by around 25%.” This, they say, would save the country 5% of its gross domestic product. In other words, Goldman Sachs says mandating masks would significantly reduce COVID-19 infections and do wonders for the economy. Why wouldn’t political leaders require this? Answer: SOCO – Single (or Strategic) Overriding Communication Objective. Meaning, what do you want/need to accomplish with what you say? If your single objective is to protect public health and the economy, you would likely say, “You have to wear a mask.” If your strategic objective is to make sure you don’t upset the people who vote for you in spite of the benefit to them and everyone else, you would likely say, “You probably should wear a mask, but it’s really up to you.” Every minor or major communication campaign has a SOCO. Start with your SOCO, decide what to say briefly to accomplish it, add three pieces of evidence and repeat, repeat, repeat. (We’ll explain more when we see you.) Read more