Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Wednesday 23 April 2008

Communicating Sustainability: link to intrinsic goals

Today we recognize that we should not expect public awareness campaigns to create behavioral change. Moreover we focus on the chemistry of change: trying to understand the gap between what people say and what they do. Analyzing the 2004 US Presidential campaigns George Lakoff wrote: “People do not necessarily vote in their self-interest. They vote their identity. They vote their values. They vote for who they identify with. It is important to understand this point. It is a serious mistake to assume that people are simply always voting in their self-interest.” Marketing communication – even for sustainability – mostly focuses on extrinsic goals of people: acquisition of material goods, financial benefits, social recognition. Research now seems to recognize that we have to go beyond the business case for sustainable development: “most of our consumer research points to the need for pro-environmental behaviors to fit within people’s current lifestyle, even if one might aim for more fundamental shifts over the longer term”. This means environmental marketing communication should appeal to our intrinsic goals of personal growth, emotional intimacy, community involvement. The WWF study 'Wheathercocks & Signposts' recommends to link nature with emotion, happiness, well being, personal growth, community building. If we communicate our environmental values clearly, most people will recognize them as their own, personally more authentic and more deeply human than those put forth by green marketing. At the very least they will see environmentalists as having deeply held, traditional human principles. This would be a huge step forward from the present state, in which environmentalists are seen as being against progress, economic growth and material wellbeing, with nature and self-interest as their only higher principles.


Conchi PiƱeiro said...

I really enjoyed this post! Thanks for your vision. Very useful links!

Anonymous said...

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