Get Your Message Heard with a Positive Spin

More research reveals the positive effect of positive messaging

New research reveals the best ways to reach the general public through messaging—messages framed with positive gains are more effective for the general public who have less knowledge about a subject, feel that healthy behaviors are a choice rather than a duty, and have less firsthand knowledge of the consequences of their actions.

In contrast, those who are highly involved in the field that a message relates to are more influenced by messages framed in a negative-loss manner. Co-author Lizzy Pope, Associate Professor and Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics at the University of Vermont explains: “a medical doctor would be more influenced by this style of messaging because they have the knowledge base to process the message … in this case, the negative nature of the message would be perceived more as a call to action than as a threat.”

Lead author Brian Wansink, PhD director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab concludes, “Evoking fear may seem like a good way to get your message across but this study shows that, in fact, the opposite is true–telling the public that a behavior will help them be healthier and happier is actually more effective.”

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