I had a conversation today with a friend who was organising a flash mob to inspire people to be more proactive about climate change.
She wants to use the event to engage with people on a one-to-one basis (or: ‘go out and talk to people’) on what more they could do to have a positive effect on the environment because, she said ‘it’s fixable.’
This kind of positivity is so important. Not just for climate change, but for any form of communication.
If the message was ‘do your bit or else’ or ‘the world will end if we don’t recycle’ then we just feel deflated, demotivated and despondent.
But tell people they can make a difference – and how – and they feel empowered and that it’s worth their while getting involved. Even better, say that the majority of people are doing what ever it is they should be doing and your intended audience will feel they will be the odd one out if they don’t get involved.
Here’s two examples. Take a pair of slippers. Which ad was the most successful? The one that said ‘don’t let your feet get cold, wear our slippers’ or ‘keep your feet warm and cosy with our slippers’?
In America (I can’t remember the details) an environmental campaign wanted to reduce littering in a river. So they had an animated advert showing what would happen if people kept littering – the river became a stream of rubbish. The result? Littering increased. Why? Because people subconciously felt that if everyone was littering, then what was the point of making an effort.
So when you are writing your advert, web or newsletter copy, encouraging people to get involved in a good cause or to change their habits, then write positive.
*What inspired me? See http://www.transitionmarlborough.org/*