Scare tactics don’t work like a positive marketing focus

| June 25, 2012

A study of sceptics’ attitudes to climate change carried out by Paul Bain and colleagues at Australia’s Brisbane University shows that if you want to change someone’s mind, you need to bring positive marketing messages into play.

A positive marketing focus wins hands down

Earlier research proved that scientific evidence is unlikely to convince sceptics of any persuasion, and that negative consequences are much less successful than positively framed rationales.

This study showed that talking about how mitigating climate change will actually help people works much better than threats about the disastrous effects of doing nothing.

It’s fascinating stuff. And it makes perfect marketing sense. Yes, you can use greed and fear to sell goods and services the old fashioned way. But positive messages appeal to the innate human desire that most of us have to make our world better.

Appealing to people’s better nature

Call me a hippy if you like. But in my experience scaring, shaming and bullying people into a decision of any kind never works as well as appealing to their better nature. Which is why I recently turned down a project to terrify the life out of website owners in an effort to sell someone’s new ‘Cookie Law’ widget.

It’s also important to entertain. You can inform ¬†and educate all you like. But it’s no use creating an overly careful, personality-free piece of marketing wallpaper. Magnolia won’t cut it. You need colour, verve and oomph to stand out in a crowded, competitive market. If you’ve ever lingered unexpectedly on a website because it speaks to you directly with warmth, personality and spirit, you’ll know what I mean.



Category: copywriting and marketing

By Kate Goldstone - ()

Originally from Middlesbrough, I lived in Brighton for many years before moving to North Devon. I’ve had a passion for words all my life and this is my twelfth year as a freelance writer. In my spare time I draw, paint, sculpt, carve wood and rock, garden, read, write poetry and enjoy long distance hiking. I sing and play the recorder. I collect modernist paintings, vintage rugs and mid-century German art pottery. I’m a member of The Poetry Society. And I am an experienced volunteer shepherd, a ‘Lookerer’.

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