Positively-framed messages and affect in social marketing

Harris, Fiona and Harrison, Paul (2012). Positively-framed messages and affect in social marketing. In: Academy of Marketing Conference 2012, Marketing: Catching the Technology Wave, 3-5 Jul 2012, Southampton, UK.

URL: http://www.academyofmarketing.org/conference-2012/...

Abstract

Fear appeals are widely used in social marketing campaigns, but have drawn criticism based on both research limitations and ethical concerns. This preoccupation with negatively-framed messages and negative affect is echoed in the laboratory-based message framing literature. Firstly, we propose that message framing needs to take account of the nature of the desired behaviour change rather than focusing exclusively on the consequences of compliance or non-compliance with messages’ recommendations. We propose a classification of desired behaviour change and use it to examine the potential for positively-framed social marketing message and positive affect to facilitate desired behaviour. Secondly, we argue that attention needs to be refocused on messages that support people in building resources to facilitate behaviour change through positive affect. We then identify different types of positively-framed social marketing messages that have been used in practice and evaluate their success. Finally, we draw implications for effective and ethical ways of framing messages to facilitate behaviour change to help improve social marketing theory and practice.

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