Hello and welcome to the TCC Weekly – the Friday bulletin for people who know their apostrophe from their catastrophe.
This week we discuss the merits and limitations of shocking your audience into doing things differently, and visit East Dorset to see the latest innovation in digital local government engagement – Carpool Chattyaoke.
We also visit the Values Lab to find out who is most susceptible to the power of the press and social media, and round things off with a visit to Charlie’s Attic, slightly sparser than usual for its summer recess. It includes the vocabulary test that tells you how posh you are, and the official ideal pub.
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Last week PR Week posted its monthly roundup of its favourite campaigns of the past lunar cycle, and July’s selection included this South African video putting people off texting while driving. The video – quick spoiler alert here – suddenly flips from slapstick to serious to deliver a powerful message about the dangers of texting behind the wheel.
It’s a great delivery of an important message, and it’s one of many examples of using the shock approach to make its audience stop and think – you might remember this much-complained-about ‘hooked’ anti-smoking campaign. So what makes shocking messages effective, and what are the limitations?
As this article from content marketers Skyword summarises, shocking an audience can be a great way of creating cognitive dissonance, or making us challenge our assumptions of how things work. However, as the story cautions, the tactic is far more effective in turning people off things, such as dangerous or unhealthy behaviour, than attracting them to things. It emphasises, as we would from our experience, the importance of carefully considering the benefits and risks of a campaign, and ensuring the campaign is pitched right for your target audience.
If you’re involved, or just interested, in positively impacting the behaviour of communities, come along to the UK Social Marketing Conference on 14th September. We’re delighted to be able to offer a 30% discount to any readers of The Weekly who work in local government. Just sign up here, quoting the code LAUK17.
As a novel approach to expanding both internal and external engagement, East Dorset Council’s Chief Executive David McIntosh has taken to the streets, but not on foot. He has got behind the wheel for Carpool Chattyaoke, the council’s answer to James Corden’s popular segment.
McIntosh doesn’t sing, you’ll be either disappointed or relieved to hear, but is joined in each video by a different member of council staff, and chats with them about what they do at the council as well as their interests outside of work. It’s an innovative idea to make the council and its staff more relatable to residents (and to each other!), and a personal explanation of what officers do and are responsible for helps remove the ‘wall’ in awareness between public organisations and the residents they serve.
Digital channels are increasingly becoming an essential rather than desirable element of consultation and engagement – Pillar I of the New Conversations guide provides some examples of good work being done already, and has a set of checklist of challenges to be addressed in going more digital.
Despite the rise of the social media echo chamber over the past couple of years, YouGov research suggests in the 2017 general election, traditional channels still held more sway. This brought to mind our own analysis of the GE, and in particular how much impact newspapers and social media had on the vote of different parts of the population. We headed down to the Values Lab, and ignited our Bunsen burners with flaming scraps of yesterday’s tabloids.
The results are pretty similar – and suggest that both newspapers and social media were most likely to have had an effect on the vote of socially conservative Prospectors, in the upper left of each map. This backs up the notion that Prospectors, the ultimate pragmatists, are more likley to be swing voters, and get behind whichever party or candidate suits them best on that occasion.
And finally this week, Charlie’s Attic, channelling non-traditional miscellany into your inbox: