The alternative to brands preaching is to persuade.
As I have said earlier, I got a grounding in persuasion when I was at O&M in the 1980s. But reading The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt (and a paper by Robb Willer and Matt Feinberg*) led me to a new level of understanding of how to persuade people. It seems we humans don’t differ as much about issues as we do about values. When we can reflect back to people that we do understand their values, then they relax and listen and CHANGE THEIR MIND! Just like the sun in the Aesop’s fable.
Wow! What a concept! We can get people to change their mind about an issue if we frame it in terms that are consistent with their values. Willer and Feinberg have shown this again and again about issue after issue. (I summarize their research in my white paper, available here.)
This is the answer that the advertising industry needs if they want to truly contribute anything above and beyond telling people that the brand they work for is consistent with the values they already hold. If we want to truly make a difference on social and political issues, we need to go back to basics and learn how to persuade. In a new way, this time.
My book (Marketing Landmines: The Next Generation of Emotional Branding) has plenty of examples of how this has already been done and some suggestions for how it can be applied. I also am available for speeches, training and workshops to help your marketing team get up to speed on how to achieve these remarkable results.
Contact me to conduct an intervention with your team – get them to stop preaching and start persuading.