The use of psychology in campaign design

Psychology | See Media blog | PR planning

Mandated time at home feels much different when you’re an adult accustomed to a busy schedule and social gatherings.  

Like most people, I’ve been trying to fill my free time as productively as possible and I began this week, by watching the CIPR’s webinar on psychology in campaign design 

Although it was published some time ago, a number of themes emerged that are still pivotal to campaign planning today. This included the premise that when it comes to putting together any messaging, it’s important to remember that one size doesn’t fit all.  

It’s often assumed that if comms teams develop a strong and convincing message, that this alone will lead to a domino effect that will result in a campaigns messaging sweeping across every feed which leads to those messages being absorbed by the target audience. However, this is not the case. 

Communication, according to Leona Deakin’s webinar, is not dominated by the sender (as believed by most marketeers) but the receiver. In fact, research shows that the messages we consume are filtered in accordance with who we are, what we already know, individual interests and any social pressures we face 

For PR and marketing teams, effective strategies overcome the various stages of resistance from an organisations target audience (or receiver). In the webinar, Leona explains that the common phrases used by people demonstrating resistance, typically include: “not noticing,” “not understanding,” “not remembering,” “not agreeing” or “not knowing how to respond” to the campaign message. 

So, what should comms teams consider when planning their campaigns?  

Firstly, any communications or campaign messaging must talk to the audience and their need in a way that will resonate with them. If it’s relevant to a variety of audience groups or individuals, make that clear and put together a variation of targeted messaging. In line with this, organisations also need to draw up clear call to actions for these audiences, by making it clear what it is you want your audience to do next. 

Secondly, Leona champions the idea of repetition and using multiple channels to publish your communications. Not every campaign you run will be suited to every channel or medium you use and so mapping out who you are trying to communicate with and aligning your delivery with how your audience prefers to receive those messages will increase your chances of success. 

The final takeaway was the idea that the most persuasive communications tend to be trustworthy and credible. As more social platforms look to find new ways of tackling fake news, organisations should look for support from research or authoritative figures that have specialist knowledge on the topic your organisation is discussing to advocate your campaigns core messaging 

While now may not be the time for many organisations to be launching any brand-new campaigns, for sector we operate in, UK housing, the core elements identified by Leona are pivotal for any internal and external communications being drawn up, to ensure organisations successfully communicate messaging that both informs and resonates with its key stakeholders. 


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Sara-Anne Mills-Bricknell is an Account Manager at See Media