2020 PESO Model Graphic

Do you know when you learn a new concept you see it manifested everywhere?

That’s kind of how I feel about this whole PESO model thing.

After creeping around Spin Sucks for quite a bit, the model gets into your head.

Let me give you an example of my latest theory:

The PESO model potentially aided the success and duration of Cleopatra’s Egyptian reign from 51 BC-30 BC.

If true, which I outline below, could I have found a link between the Queen of Egypt and the Queen of the Windy City?

PESO Model Implemented by Cleo

Shannon Bowen, Ph.D., researches and teaches PR ethics at the University of South Carolina.

She spent more than 10 years examining historical records related to Cleopatra.

Bowen believes Cleopatra’s communication skills parallel some modern PR’s communication strategies.

And so do I.

Bowen did not use the PESO model to evaluate Cleopatra’s communication strategies, so I am breaking a little bit of ground here.

Paid Media

Paid media puts the P in PESO model.

It’s advertising: Newspapers, billboards, Google ads, radio, etc.

Well, Cleopatra would take your billboard and newspaper ad and raise it—to the level of supreme show-womanship.

In 47 BC, in a paid media extravaganza, Julius Caesar, with Cleopatra at his side, went up and down the Nile river with Cleopatra aboard Cleopatra’s barge.

The pomp and circumstance delighted all onlookers.

This entire event increased her sway in the public’s eye.

Here was their queen providing a tour for a powerful Roman.

This was a floating, neon billboard of luxury.

Earned Media

Earned media is publicity.

Think media relations, blogger relations, investor relations, and most importantly for the point at hand, INFLUENCER relations.

If I was much younger and practicing PR in today’s world, I would make these connections, the way I made newspaper connections—through the art of seduction.

And Bowen makes a convincing case that Cleopatra used seduction to cement her influencer relations.

It takes quite a strategy to literally intertwine oneself with two Roman leaders in a row.

Was this queenly media strategy truly a strategy or a tactic?

Either way, we can all agree that Julius Caesar and Mark Antony were THE influencers of the day.

Shared Media

Shared media is social media.

You can forgive Cleopatra for not setting up @CleoPtolemaicdynasty or #m.antonyisfine.

So, what did she do without a smart phone and the absence of Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest?

She spoke directly to the people.

It is believed Cleopatra was a skilled orator.

Plutarch, a Greek biographer who wrote at length about ancient Romans and Greeks labelled Cleopatra as one who was gripping in conversation and persuasive in discussion.

She spoke Ethiopian, Trogodyte, Greek, Latin, Egyptian, and the languages of the Hebraioi, Arabs, Syrians, Medes, Parthians, and more.

This talent allowed her to speak directly to different audiences and command considerable respect and diplomacy abilities.

Sounds familiar—knowledge of the consumer and speaking directly to a segmented market?

Owned Media

Owned media is the media you have control over: Websites, white papers, blogs, podcasts, and more.

Your owned content creates your voice, your persona, your brand personality.

What could we consider a blog in ancient times?

How about an old-fashioned decree?

Records show Cleopatra signed decrees to inform the general public about various issues, such as crop irrigation or the best tactics to take when the Nile flooded.

The modern world was abuzz when archaeologists believe they located papyrus with a single word that may have been written by Cleopatra.

The Greek word, ginesthoi, which translates into English as “make it so.”

The body of the decree was likely written by a court scribe, but the written approval was likely from the queen herself.

Written on February 23, 33 B.C., the decree granted a tax exemption to a Roman named Publius Canidius.

It also mentions:

We have also granted that the animals used for plowing and sowing as well as the beasts of burden and the ships used for the transportation [down the Nile] of the wheat are likewise exempt from ‘personal’ liabilities and from taxes and cannot be commandeered [by the army].

That is definite control of the message.

The PESO Model Only Goes So Far

The PESO model is magical, but it only goes so far.

It may have aided Cleopatra with her masterful strategic communication, but we know how this story ends.

In 31 B.C., the combined armies of Antony and Cleopatra battled Octavian in a battle at sea on Greece’s coast.

Antony and Cleopatra were forced to flee back to Egypt.

Antony eventually returned to battle, and mistakenly learned of the death of Cleopatra.

And what did the valiant soldier do in response?

He sent out a tweet.


He plunged his sword deep into his body.

So, Cleopatra killed herself by enduring the bite of a poisonous snake.

She died on August 12, 30 B.C.

The two were buried together.

Egypt soon became part of the Roman Empire.

And the PESO model lives on.

Want to learn more about the PESO model? Watch the Spin Sucks PESO 2.0 Masterclass for FREE and learn how to implement the PESO model to achieve unparalleled communications results. 

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Charles Arment

Charles Arment is currently the youngest student to have received a PhD. in public relations at Georgetown University. He developed a controversial PR school of thought called "Piercing The Ignorance Chasm," which blacklisted the once promising student. He left PR in 2006. He is rarely seen in public, lives in upstate New York, and occasionally pens articles under the pseudonym "Prosecuted Prophet."

View all posts by Charles Arment