KK&Co president Kirsten Kukowski was on KNSI's Ox in the Afternoon on Wednesday highlighting our efforts with Minnesota Rising - an effort to use opposition research in the 2018 elections. Minnesota is a hotbed for targeted congressional races including the 1st, 2nd, 3rd congressional districts. Democrats across the board are running toward their liberal activists and Minnesota Rising is charged with providing years of context - past statements, positions or actions - to hold these candidates accountable. Listen below:
We put together another great event for opioid awareness – this time at Target field! If you’re wondering if that picture straight from the field, you are correct. Such a great experience.
At KK & Co. we manage several coalitions, all with different objectives, but getting their message out is always a priority. With our latest event we had the opportunity to partner with local organizations and our Minnesota Twins.
Before the game we distributed information about the opioid epidemic and our volunteers were AWESOME! It was a great opportunity for our volunteers, most of whom are deeply connected to this issue, to engage with the general public to educate and increase awareness.
During the pre-game our partners were invited onto the field for a pre-game reception to raise awareness. What a cool opportunity for them and for our client and to get in front of so many Minnesotans.
This event was a huge success. Thanks to all who volunteered, organized, and showed up on behalf of a great cause. If you want more info on how KK & Co. can help you achieve and amplify your mission – contact us!
A couple of weeks ago, KK & Co organized an event on behalf of a coalition we manage, in partnership with the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.
Coordinating events that have a broad mission can be tricky, especially when you’re trying to engage diverse stakeholders. In preparation for this event, we worked with our partnership members, the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, and our panelists to ensure a thoughtful and meaningful event that provided great insight for the attendees.
This particular panel was geared toward businesses and their human resource representatives as it relates to the opioid epidemic. The panel discussed the legal parameters around the issue, indicators or red flags for employers, as well as what employers can do to help educate and prevent prescription abuse among employees. One of the suggestions was informing employees of drug free alternatives for recovery such as acupuncture or physical therapy which can also be included in an employee handbook.
From coordinating panelists and guest speakers to ensuring all logistics went smoothly, the KK & Co team understands that the devil is in the details. When coordinating panels with multiple people who all have different perspectives (the point of panels!) we recommend you over prepare on the mission with questions and prep calls in advance so the event runs smoothly. So many panel events we have watched fail to communicate the key components of the program because there is not a clear agenda and plan for the event.
Big thanks to our own business attorney, Tara Anderson of TJA Business Law, for helping moderate the panel, employment attorney at Seaton Revnew and Peters, Martin Kappenman, Heather Kaiser with Associated Benefits, an HR consultant, and Nichole Keltgen, a member of the Employee Assistance Program at Associated Benefits. What a team!
Another Republican big-money group is entering the battle for control of the House, as AR2 moves to upend Democratic candidates by digging up damaging information and feeding it to local media.
The political nonprofit is affiliated with America Rising, an established super PAC that specializes in opposition research. “AR2,” federally prohibited from overt politicking, aims to use its research and communications expertise to put Democrats on the defensive on policy matters.
The group hopes to tip the scales toward the Republicans in crucial battleground districts, beginning with those in Minnesota, Florida, Nebraska, and states in the Northeast. AR2 is being advised by two veteran Republican campaign operatives, Andrea Bozek and Kirsten Kukowski.
AR2 will focus on drawing policy contrasts between Republican and Democratic candidates, as opposed to politically motivated opposition research such as embarrassing information related to personal or business dealings. But the group’s planned activities, including real-time rapid response communications, could be another headache for House Democrats.
In a twist, this effort will eschew the Washington press corps and direct its information and messaging to local political reporters as a means to put the squeeze on targeted Democrats. AR2’s outside advisers should be helpful on that front.
Bozek is formerly of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP campaign arm; Kuskowski previously worked for the Republican National Committee. In those positions, they dealt closely with local reporters and understand the landscape for local media.
Earlier this week the Center of the American Experiment hosted their 2017 Fall Briefing at the Guthrie in downtown Minneapolis that featured author and columnist Mark Steyn. KK & Co. coordinated the logistics and fundraising for this event that turned out over 1,000 people on a rainy Monday evening!
There is a lot of time and energy that goes into planning a successful event. KK & Co.’s team has years of experience and over the years have put together an organized method in order to accomplish the task at hand.
For background purposes, Center of the American Experiment is Minnesota’s leading public policy organization. The Center is an organization driven by topics that are important to Minnesotans such as the economy, health care, taxes, transportation, employee freedom and state and local governance. In keeping the interests and policies that Minnesotans care most about in mind, the Center has remained the most impactful and effective public policy organization in Minnesota.
Using their knowledge of event planning and day-of coordinating, KK & Co. was able to successfully transition from each segment of the evening-- handling the flow of registration, organizing the logistics of the event space, to managing 1000+ participants as well as a featured speaker, KK & Co made sure it was covered.
KK & Co had the opportunity to lead a discussion about advocacy, how to get engaged in public policy, and why it’s important to stay involved at all levels of government. Kristen, co-founder of KK & Co, led the discussion at Target Corporate HQ during a Target Citizens lunch for employees.
For some, the idea of getting involved in public policy at any level of government is intimidating. And the truth is while public policy discussions are often complicated, there’s also even more going on behind the scenes than many realize. That’s what KK & Co. does - we are the bridge for those people with a platform or issue who want to learn more and do something about it. Today, more than ever, there’s a desire to research, be more knowledgeable, and be active in the community. So how can someone get to be more engaged and influence decision makers?
The first step is to jump on the social media train. Coalitions, local politicians, and constituents are taking to social media to have their voices heard and solicit information. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram are just a few of the different outlets that are being used to stay informed and amplify your voice. As you get more savvy, social media can also help you target your message to those who either need to hear it the most or can help you with your cause.
Another way to engage is through personal outreach with people who can help make change. This can be through letters, phone calls, emails, or in person meetings., Whether its city, state or federal government that you need to reach, start by strategizing how to get in contact with your elected official. They represent you and want to hear from you. And even if they don’t, they should.
Lastly, earned media is a great way to influence public policy. This includes letters to the editor, newspaper editorial boards, reporter interviews, or press conferences. Not only will articles or media posts be noticed by elected officials and others who can help you but media provides an open commentary on issues for constituents that would otherwise not be heard. Remember, all of these issues impact individual people—and it is our job in the public affairs world to match those impacted to the issue.
To see change in a community, no matter how big or small, it’s our responsibility to actively participate. With the different levels of engagement options, there is no excuse to not be informed.
Thank you, Target, for allowing us to share our expertise and the importance of engagement and if you need advice or help, please contact us.
Trying to get into a routine as a startup can be challenging in today’s fast pace work environment. It can be even more of a struggle to make time to exercise when your work life, social life, and family life takes you in all directions. After launching earlier this year, KK & Co has since expanded our client list and people working for us to the point where we needed more collaboration and office space. We’ve been exploring different offices spaces and found Work It in St. Paul, a co-working space that promotes health and wellness while offering a productive work space.
Work It Co-Working is a woman owned shared workspace that provides many of the standard office utilities and more. Anne Henderson, owner of Work It, was interested is giving working professionals different options in comparison to a coffee shop, cubicle or home office.
Not only is the location attractive to people but everything Work It offers within it’s workspace is designed to keep your body and brain moving. Work It has a convertible work stations where you can walk, pedal, sit, or stand. It also has conference rooms, fitness equipment, showers, secure bike rack, a full kitchen and printing services.
Just this week we were interviewed by M.A. Rosko on Fox 9: https://youtu.be/4YKxxIpU8EY
This past week, KK & Co. ran an online ad campaign for one of our clients to educate targeted constituents on a policy issue. The client wanted visibility for their organization before a policy decision that was happening quickly. In order to get the most return on investment, we decided to run an online ad campaign. Our target consumers were all online, so the ads were seen on sites like the Star Tribune, ESPN, NY Times, etc. The aim was to target high propensity voters in a certain geographical area where the policy change was occurring because they would be the most likely to pay attention and engage.
Although we are stating the obvious, you'd be surprised how many people forget this step - it’s important to first understand the objective of your digital marketing plan and your audience. Digital marketing can be used for many reasons - to promote different products, brands, or ideas via electronic media, including: the Internet, social media, mobile phones, or electronic billboards. Digital ads all aim to catch the eye of the site visitor in hopes of securing their attention. The design is so important—a split second look at the ad with your target consumer will determine whether they click or keep moving. Digital ads also allow you to target down to your specific audience and augments your other activity.
When running ads to advocate for a cause or company, it is important to look at different metrics so you and your client know what kind of return on investment you are getting. Impressions refer to the amount of times an ad has been viewed; CTR (click-through rate) refers to the ratio of users who click on the ad to the number of total users who view the page; and CPC (cost per click) measures how much an advertiser pays a publisher when the ad is clicked. It is also critical to cast a wide net when running an digital ad campaign, continuously making sure that you are targeting the right audience with the right images in place.
Often times viewing the ads is only half the battle. After targeting your correct audience, you want to convert those views to action. Many times this could mean driving them to a landing page, and from there you will be able to collect further data on your viewers.
Just like any project, you have to ask questions, compare results, review reports and make sure you are maximizing your investment.
With some of the projects we work on for clients, we have seen a return of .07% CTR—this latest campaign we were over .10%. In this case, it was a pretty controversial issue that voters (our targets) were engaged on with the help of earned media, our digital marketing efforts and the efforts of others doing advocacy.
In just four short days, our digital ad campaign reached nearly half a million people and converted nearly 500 people to action. For our goals, this campaign was an effective, inexpensive way to reach our audience. Because digital marketing can be targeted, there are often solutions for any goal, you just need the tools to do it. If you are in the market, call KK & Co., we can help you with that!
This past weekend, KK & Co helped manage and set up a booth for one of our clients at the State Fair Grounds during the Back to the 50’s car show. Throughout the course of the five days, we came in contact with thousands of people—who knew that 50,000 people a day would show up at the show!
There are many ways in which we reach other people today, be it any type of social media, technology, or mail. Well, spending a couple of days in a concentrated area, where you can engage constituents is an incredible way to reach more people too.
In doing so, it is important that when recruiting volunteers (or staff), you are recruiting the right people—these people must be highly energetic, quick on their feet, and personable. These in person opportunities provide such a great platform for you to connect on an individual level – in person is still so effective. All of this is something that we as a firm can help you with! We know what it takes to get the job done, whether it’s discussing the difficult topics with possible clients or being those personable, charismatic people you need reaching out to others.
When it comes to communication and getting your voice and messages heard, we have the tools you need. And if that includes taking advantage of Sweet Martha’s Cookies at the State Fair Grounds, we can do that, too! Aside from representing our client, it was an incredible event to see and we highly recommend you attend this event next year.
This past Saturday, KK & Co coordinated Center of the American Experiment’s Annual Dinner where 800 people attended the event featuring United States’ Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas. Tom Cotton, a strong conservative Senator who served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives and enlisted in the Army after 9/11, talked about the dynamics in Washington and how his conservative agenda can be implemented in states like Minnesota.
The night was a huge success, and we look forward to working with Center of the American Experiment in the future.
@MNThinkTank #mnleg #100percentcotton
“We envision a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.” – Girls on the Run
This past Saturday, we had the opportunity to volunteer at the Girls on the Run Twin Cities Spring 5k at Normandale Community College. We worked with the Dream Team – an awesome group of women who spoke to the GOTR girls about their lives and how they achieved success.
We started working with GOTR a few months ago and have really come to know it as an inspiring organization that more girls in the Twin Cities should take part in. It’s a non-profit organization that inspires and motivates girls to believe in their infinite potential, filling each girl with the confidence to take on the world. The girls meet weekly in small teams, where they learn life skills through important conversation, friendship, and community service, while incorporating running to work up to a 5k at the end of the season.
They’ve already been growing exponentially and we need to help them grow even more. This season, more than 110 elementary schools, middle schools, and YMCA community centers across the Twin Cities and Rochester metro area participated. Thousands of girls and their running partners completed this year’s Spring 5k, and we were lucky to be a part of it.
We are excited to continue to work with Girls on the Run, with the hope of empowering young women and leaving them with the belief that they can.
#gotrc5k #gotr #girlsontherun
We’ve been wildly successful since starting our firm a couple of months ago, and need help with client services as we continue to grow. We’d like to bring on a part-time paid intern this Spring and Summer. We’ve outlined some duties below but the overall goal would be to find someone to serve as a utility player who wants to learn the ins and outs of starting a business and get insight into public relations, public affairs and fundraising.
- Client and development research – we have various clients and potential clients and need help gathering information for proposals and generally to get up to speed.
- Pitch calls – we are doing PR work for a couple of clients and need help calling media to pitch stories.
- Weekly reports – we need help developing informative weekly reports that give our clients metrics and progress updates.
- Writing – we spend a lot of time writing proposals and have writing duties with certain clients including press releases, pitch documents, op-eds and letters to the editor.
- Website maintenance – we need someone to help optimize our website.
The work would be done remotely. We have solid networks and would be happy to help with career development for anyone who does a good job. Please email Kirsten at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
KK & Co is a 100 percent woman-owned and operated firm specializing in public relations, strategic communications, public affairs, fundraising and development. We are based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and have spent our careers throughout the Midwest and Washington, DC. From brand management to grassroots advocacy, we bring decades of experience to the table and have extensive experience navigating the corporate, non-profit, media and political worlds.
We have built organizations on bi-partisan energy related issues in multiple states, coordinated the grassroots advocacy for legislative issues, and we’ve run media campaigns in all corners of the state. We were trained in fast paced environments and bring that 24/7, high intensity work ethic to serve our clients.
There was an interesting conversation starter in the Star Tribune’s Morning Hot Dish yesterday morning about our politics in the United States. Why do so few Americans participate in politics? Is it that we are relatively healthy civically as the Strib takes on below? Or is it that we don’t think we can make change at our state capitol or in Washington? Or something else?
As political professionals, we do see our friends and family undervaluing their role in politics. “Normal” people don’t realize that ten calls, emails, tweets or Facebook messages on any given issue to a state or congressional office is very much noticed. Add in a few meetings with staffers and possibly a meeting with the elected official and they’ll think it’s the hottest issue in town. So, next time you’re having an issue with a government policy or government is ignoring something or someone, talk to your friends and neighbors and see if you can band together. There are so many modes of communication at our fingertips these days and we should use them.
And we’re here to help too, we’ve been helping people like you interact with our elected officials for years.
Hat tip to the Morning Hot Dish for the post idea.
Minneapolis StarTribune Morning Hot Dish, Attention must be paid
“A beautiful thing about living in the United States: We can ignore politics if we want. Not to say politics doesn't matter, especially if your community school is bad or you face risk of police harassment or work in a highly regulated industry. But for many Americans, politics is something to tune into every couple years, or four years, or not at all, and the change to their lives is at the margins, if at all. I've even heard an argument -- plausible but ultimately not persuasive -- that America's low voter turnout is a sign of civic health.
(Consider life in Israel or Turkey, even relatively democratic places where politics is a daily battle. To say nothing of the authoritarian states, where just retaining your humanity is a struggle.)
Can we ignore politics right now? It's all feeling a little different these days, isn't it? If you're a Trump supporter, you face withering attack from a determined and increasingly organized opposition. If you're a Trump opponent, you face a barrage of policies that are new in their bold assertion of the Trump agenda, laid out during the campaign but -- for whatever reason -- often not taken seriously during the 18 month slog.”
Thank you to the ladies of Table 167 who joined us on our inaugural Session Priorities Dinner as KK & Co (Amy Walstien, Jan Unstad, Tara Anderson, Anne Neu, Gina Countryman, Molly Cronin, Kim Crockett, and Katie Fulkerson). And thank you to the MN Chamber for the opportunity to be members.
For those of you who haven’t been to the Session Priorities Dinner (I hadn’t until Wednesday night), it’s a good opportunity to hear about the Chamber’s issues for the upcoming legislative session at the state capitol. Governor Dayton spoke about the upcoming months and there was a rousing panel discussion where House and Senate leaders of both parties discussed their agendas.
We’re excited about our new venture and look forward to taking advantage of the Chamber’s services they offer businesses across the state.
Yesterday Minnesota governor Mark Dayton's earlier comment that the affordable care act is no longer affordable was once again national news with president-elect Trump's Twitter account bringing it back to the forefront as ammunition to push healthcare reforms. While legislators in St. Paul and Washington D.C. are sworn in and new sessions begin, it will be all healthcare, all the time.
Republicans, who control both houses in St. Paul and Washington, have different plans. In Washington, they introduced a budget giving them until the end of January to repeal large portions of Obamacare and provide a replacement. There's disagreement on the replacement but they plan to act quickly on the penalties, employer requirements and tax increases within the law. In St. Paul a lot depends on what Washington does, but in the meantime they are focused on helping the 100 thousand Minnesotans with severe premium issues and are mulling plans to help contain costs incurred by the sickest in the marketplace. A reinsurance program is being discussed.
Meanwhile, Democrats in Washington are looking for their footing on this issue. Here's an interesting read on their current plan. Notice Minnesota political targets are missing: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/obamacare-democrats-desperate-233162
President Obama and VP-elect Pence will both be on Capitol Hill today on the issue. Update forthcoming...
Thank you so much for visiting our website, KK & Co. We're excited about our new venture - a full service public relations, strategic communications, public affairs and fundraising and development consulting firm. We're bringing years of experience in high paced political and public affairs worlds to political, non-profit and business clients in the Midwest and beyond.
We are a 100 percent woman-owned business and pride ourselves on being the nose to the grindstone types who simply get things done. We'd love the opportunity to do more for you and your business or organization.
Here on our blog we'll be keeping tabs on interesting news about the intersection of business, politics and government in the Midwest and Washington so please stay tuned!