3 Steps to Comms that Connect (Frank Talk: Part 2)

Read Part One HereMark Dessauer

Guest blogger Mark Dessauer is Director of Communications at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation.

Frank: A gathering of communicators who work for the common good (or public interest). Here’s the final challenge we discussed, with core takeaways:

How do we shape our communications to engage audiences TO ACT for change?

  • Humor: The most reliable way to folks hearts and minds is through laughter:
    • Satire has played a critical role in bringing in Millennials into the news via the Daily Show, Colbert Report and similar programs.
    • If you want to make an impact, you have to change how people think. Engaging critical thinking via satire (and humor) is an effective way to start.

  • Hope: Brains work on stories, and humorous stories activate altruism and hopefulness. If you shout awful news to people, they will give up.
    • Take the environmental movement—We need a new narrative focused on us people, rather than the planet. One about hope and a future that doesn’t suck. With reasons to hope and fight for.
  •  Relevance rules, and is the only path to empathy:  Believe it or not, effective change is being motivated by Hollywood. If you’ve seen any of these films from Participant MediaThe Cove, Contagion, The Help, Food Inc. and An Inconvenient Truth—you see what I mean.
    • The Participant team believes a story well told can change the world. To measure that “well told,” they use a narrative involvement scale to measure the impact of their movies
    • Their findings highlight two must do’s: 1) generate empathy in your audience members; and 2) highlight issues and wants relevant to their daily lives (which the only path to creating empathy, otherwise your communications are a wasted “who cares.”

The better your communications do on these fronts, the more likely your audience is to act. I wouldn’t waste a moment!

What can you add here, or what doesn’t sit with your experience? Please comment here.

Read Part One Here

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Nancy Schwartz in Strategy | 1 comment
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