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Communicating CampaignsFrames and values

Brian Lamb


Thinking of Frames

Your brain automatically reaches for information which is in itself framed for you already You have concepts of things that represent not just facts but perceptions and associations-hence you cannot stop yourself thinking of the Elephant once it is suggested to you

A bat and ball cost 1.10 in total. The bat costs 1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? It takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make a hundred widgets?

Emotion and thinking

Get in touch with your inner Lizard! Automatic system- instinctive, quick, reflexive and unconscious, linked strongly with emotions and values Reflective system-Controlled, requires effort and awareness, deliberative follows rules Automatic nervous system trumps Reflective system in quick decision making, politics and where emotional engagement is strong

Reflective System


Deep Frames

The social psychological evidence

suggests that some behaviours are not mediated by either attitude or intention at all. In fact the reverse correlation, in which attitudes are inferred from behaviours, is sometimes observed It suggests that behaviours can be changed without necessarily changing attitudes first.
Professor Tim Jackson

Emotion and Frames

Reflective system is controlled, slow and engaged only with difficulty as we are mentally lazy Autonomous system linked to Emotions which drive human behaviour Related to Values-the brain gravitates towards solutions that match not only data but desire Westen. Frames embed values in the question how do I understand the world?


Campaigning Paradigm
Focus on developing evidence Present evidence to decision makers If necessary also convince the public to create leverage for changing policy, practice, behaviour Rational decision makers are either convinced or give in to pressure Public decides on evidence and alters views, commits to campaign, or change behaviour Only it does not work like that!

Why we need a different model

Theories in American stem from both developments in linguistics and psychology-how political language works and how people respond But also progressives trying to find answers to why supposedly weaker candidates of the right were able to continue to beat the democrats in Presidential and other electoral races We have been slow to wake up to the implications of a debate that has been developing for at least the last 10 years in the States Interest from Environmental and Aid Lobby where successive and seemingly successful public campaigning has not achieved the level of public support or individual behaviour change anticipated

In politics, as in everyday life, two sets of often competing constraints shape our judgements: cognitive constraints, imposed by the information we have available, and emotional constraints, imposed by the feelings associated with one conclusion or another. when reason and emotion collide, emotion invariably wins. Although the marketplace of ideas is a great place to shop for policies, the marketplace that matters mostis the marketplace of emotions.

Political Views are related to and constrained by our values and feelings We chose the arguments and positions that align with our underling values and emotions not with the evidence Language (frames) and activates those values Campaigns which ignore the emotional (value) laden context will fail Material interest does not align with voting and views held-values and emotions trump them in most circumstances Need to appeal to underlying emotions and values by reframing the issue but he is more flexible on what values and frames work

Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion, 1921


Frames are organizing principles that are socially shared and persistent over time that work symbolically to meaningfully structure the world. Every frame defines the issue, explains who is responsible, and suggests potential solutions. All of these are conveyed by images, stereotypes, or anecdotes. Framing Institute Report

People use mental shortcuts to make sense of the world. Incoming information provides cues about where to file it mentally. Over time, we develop habits of thought and expectation and configure incoming information to conform to the values and frames we use This triggers sets of emotions and values that conform with our world view. An explanation that reduces a complex problem to a simple, concrete analogy or metaphor contributes to understanding by helping people organize information into a clear picture in their heads, including facts and ideas previously learned but not organized in a coherent way,

Political Debates are essentially contests over metaphors which express or depend on underlying values and emotions. The political position we believe in will correspond to an overriding metaphor that explains the world for us. We believe the facts that correspond to the metaphor as we do not have time or consonance to discuss and delineate every fact. Even if we did we are not as rationale as we like to think.
Another trap is the assumption that all you have to do is set the facts straight and people will reason to the right conclusion. Wrong! If the facts don't fit the frames, the frames stay and the facts are ignored. The facts unframed will not set you free. You cannot win just be stating the true facts and showing that they contradict your opponent's claims. Frames trump facts.

Campaigns which are trying to appeal to the public or change behaviour have to be calibrated towards the values of the public rather than simply presenting arguments around interests or facts This has lead to a great deal of interest in Marketing based analysis-mapping the value sets of the public, where they sit on the spectrum of views and how they could be addressed by reframing issues to sync with those views Segmentation against values becomes the key to successful campaigns aimed at public change Framing of arguments-how you active those thoughts and feelings you want and counter others frames


Models of Values and Behaviour

Inner-directed Pioneers

Dominant motivation - Exploration

Outer-directed Prospectors

Dominant motivation - Status and esteem of others

Security-driven Settlers

Dominant motivation - Being safe and belonging

(Based on model developed from Schwartz-see appendix.)

Changing Behaviour through Communications

Appeal to norms, making group standards more apparent. People decide by observing those around them. Certain attitudes and sympathies can remain dormant until they are activated by an idea or practice becoming more visible People learn through social interaction, and some people are better teachers and trendsetters than others. Targeting these people will ensure that messages transmitted effectively. Make it easy for people to know what to do-give people the tools to decide for themselves and then have access to the infrastructure in which to act, and understand that their contribution is important. Link to positive aspirations. Traditional marketing links products to the aspirations of their target audience. Create communities Methods of building public trust... methods which encourage people to form and reformulate their opinions interactively, consensually and consciously. Use bottom-up networking through more local messaging systems that people trust-influencing behaviour through networks... Raise the status of the behaviour so that people will follow Target specific groups


State the Story Explain the Problem Describe how big the issues is Present a Solution Keep it Simple Appeal to Values Establish Responsibility



Public Campaigning
There is no such thing as a social problem, until enough people, with enough power in the society, agree that there is. Social problems are produced by public opinion, not by particular social conditions, undesirable or otherwise.
Armand Mauss and Julie Wolfe, eds., This Land of Promises: The Rise and Fall of Social Problems.

Effects of Framing
Crime: 58% do not believe that crime is falling, when the Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that incidents of crime were 19% lower in 2012 than in 2006/07 and 53% lower than in 1995. 51% think violent crime is rising, when it has fallen from almost 2.5 million incidents in 2006/07 to under 2 million in 2012 Benefit fraud: people estimate that benefit money is claimed fraudulently 34 times more than official estimates: the public think that 24 out of every 100 spent on benefits is claimed fraudulently, compared with official estimates of 0.70 per 100. Foreign aid: 26% of people think foreign aid is one of the top 2-3 items that government spends the most money on, when it actually made up 1.1% of expenditure (7.9bn) in the 2011/12 financial year. Immigration and ethnicity: the public think that 31% of the population are immigrants, when the official figure is 13%. Benefit bill: people are most likely to think that capping benefits at 26,000 per household will save the most money from a list provided (33% pick this option). This is twice the level of people who selected raising the pension age to 66 for both men and women or stopping child benefits when someone in the household earns 50k+. In fact, capping household benefits is estimated to save 290m, compared with 5bn for raising the pension age and 1.7bn for stopping child benefit for wealthier households.

Do not use your opponents frame or repeat it even to challenge it-you will only trigger the associations you opponent wants triggered Show respect for the other persons Look for Wedge issues-means of finding common ground on values that allows a bridge to your frame of reference Think and talk at the level of values and use these to frame your facts

Framing with Facts

ENVIRONMENT WEAK EXAMPLE At current consumption rates, we put back in the air each year about 100,000 years of stored carbon. In the last 150 years we have put about 290 billion tonnes (gigatonnes or Gt) into the air. Amidst the claimed uncertainties about the climate-change phenomenon, there is no dispute that these emissions have caused significant increases in atmospheric concentrations of CO2. Today's CO2 levels are about 370 parts per million (ppm), about 30 per cent higher than the pre-industrial level of 280 ppm. ENVIRONMENT BETTER EXAMPLE Humankind is altering the atmosphere at a rapid pace. Since industrialization began just 150 years ago, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have increased by almost one-third. This is happening because burning fossil fuels releases carbon into the atmosphere, carbon that it took the Earth millions of years to bury away. Each year we are using 100,000 years worth of stored carbon. Even once we shift away from fossil fuels, it will take centuries for Earth to store the carbon away again. Framing Institute

Often Binary Oppositions

Inheritance Tax Energy Security Strivers Rights Death Tax Drilling for Oil Scroungers Responsibilities



Campaigners had more success when they started to frame tobacco as a defective product rather than a pleasurable but dangerous individual pleasure. As a dangerous product in peoples eyes it became much easier to put the responsibility back onto the manufacturers and then place peoples dependency on the product as the result of addiction not personal vice. This led to campaigners finding it much easier to fix the targets of the campaign as being the manufacturer, tax and sales policy. This was because of the simple device shifting the way (frame) in which people thought about the product.



What are we asking people to do, think, or feel as a result of this communication? How do we know this message will yield this result? Does our message strategy take into consideration the dominant frames on this issue? Crafting a message is often the first task groups tackle in creating a campaign, when it should be the logical end-product of strategy development. Does our message strategy reflect what we know about public opinion in general and the particular opinions of our target audience? Have we adequately translated the message from the language and complexity of expert understanding to the language and values of our target audience? Who Is Communicating? (Messenger)

One key conclusion-its easier to sell positive visions that align with values than negative ones-but need to be careful not to over claim Clear communality with some elements of Nudge approach but more transparent More focus on narrative and story telling, less on facts and figures Look for wedge issues to link to your issues and values But can you really expect to change fundamental underlying values and affiliations if they are as deep rooted as the theories suggest? If so suggests much more cross working to promote values that sustain the kind of concerns and values you are trying to promote

Bales, S.N. (2005) Framing Public Issues, Frameworks Institute, Washington Crompton, T. Common Cause, (2010) The Case for Working with our Cultural Values, WWF Darnton, A. with Kirk, M. Finding Frames: New ways to engage the UK public in global poverty Bond 2011 Jackson, Prof. T. (August 2004). Motivating Sustainable Consumption, a review of evidence on consumer behaviour and behavioural change. Guildford: University of Surrey. Lakoff, G. (1995) Metaphor, Morality, and Politics, or, Why Conservatives Have Left Liberals In the Dust Lakoff, G (2004) Dont Think of an Elephant! Know your Values and Frame the Debate Lakoff, G. (2009) The Political Mind: A Cognitive Scientists Guide to your Brain and its Politics Lamb, B. (2010) The Good Guide to Campaigning and Influencing. Westen, D. (2007) The Political Brain, The role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation

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Chris Rose Adaptation of Schwartz

One Model of Mapping ValuesSchwartz/Common Purpose