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Problem-Recognition Branding

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William Diamond

on 7 July 2016

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Transcript of Problem-Recognition Branding

Problem-Recognition Branding
and other Climate-Change Research

Why is Effective Persuasive Communication about Climate Change so difficult?

Encouraging Directions
Direct Experience: Fazio and Zanna
Problem-Recognition Branding
Studies...so far [MPPC]
Study 1:
"What is Your Canary?"
Study 2:
Effects of the S.C. Floods
Study 3:
Problem-Recognition Branding
What Next?
Strengthen the effects (better stimuli and appropriate participants). For once students are the appropriate subjects!

What makes this sort of brand effective?
Millar & Millar (these are students of Fazio and Zanna).
"some evidence that direct sensory-perceptual stimulation tends to produce ‘‘affectively charged’’ responses. Also, an experiment by Fazio, Zanna, and Cooper (1978) that examined direct/indirect experience suggested that affect may be related to direct experience.

There is recent (bad) research that direct experience with the environment (e.g., environmental education) produces stronger attitude change.
Based on pre-testing and the literature on climate change (Schneider 2014) and the reports of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC 2015), we chose
15 climate-related events.

Participants rated each event on the degree that it appeared to be a sign of climate change, whether they thought the event was occurring, and the degree to which they thought the event was abstract and could only be detected by scientists.
Our initial sample of participants comprised 166 workers on Amazon Mechanical Turk. Data from participants were deleted if the participant did not come from the United States, if their reported location did not match the location derived from their IP address (using iPligence), if iPligence could not report their city, state, or ISP, or if their reported age did not match their reported year of birth. After this screening, the data from 124 participants remained in the sample. All participants were paid 50 cents regardless of whether their data were used.
The 15 “is this happening” scales were subjected to a maximum likelihood factor analysis with promax rotation. All extraction communalities were above .3 except “Financial Harm to Individuals and Businesses.” Two factors had eigenvalues greater than 1.0, accounting for 61.7% of the variance. The KMO test of sampling adequacy was .939.
Seven events—Strange or Unnatural Weather, Crop Yields Decreased, Heat-Related Deaths, Severe Storms, Weather in My Area, Financial Harm, and Wildfires—loaded strongly on a first factor (
local events

Five events—Oceans Warming, Extinctions, Worldwide Warming Trend, Polar Ice Caps Melting, and Glaciers Melting—loaded strongly on a second factor (
global events
Two events—Extreme Temperatures and Droughts—loaded (less strongly) on both factors.
Acceptable scales. For example "is this happening" alpha is .88 amd .90, respectively.
Small but significant effects, (all p's < .005)
Global Events more likely to be happening
Ratings that events will NOT signal climate change are lower for global events
"Only a scientist could figure out whether this is happening" is lower for local events.
According to the October 4, 2015 New York Times (Fausset and Blinder 2015), " flooding from days of relentless, saturating rains paralyzed much of South Carolina." According to the Times, the South Carolina governor said that a weather event like the floods might only happen every 1000 years. Over the weekend, many cities recorded over a foot of rain.
On October 5, we ran exactly the same survey. The objectives were to compare the ratings of the climate events before and after the catastrophic South Carolina flooding. In particular, the investigation focused on whether the ratings of “more thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes”, “strange or unnatural weather”, or “extreme weather overall” would change.
To be brief, absolutely nothing changed as a result of the flooding or extensive media coverage.

The Pope visited the U.S. during late September between the surveys. A possible alternative explanation of change--but he did not change the survey results either.
Our conclusion echoes those of (Myers et al. 2013; Broomell, Budescu, and Por 2015; Spence et al. 2011). Education will be needed to provide the link between local weather and climate change. The study reported below is a beginning step to show how problem recognition branding may be used as a component of this education.
Problem Recognition
Branding Stimuli
The three control ads were "Green" advertisements by companies recognized as the "greenest" (Interbrand 2014).
The measure of whether an event signaled climate change comprised two items: "This event would signal that serious climate change could happen or is happening” and “This event is NOT related to man-made climate change.” These scales correlated between -.66 and -.73 for the different climate events. They were combined into a single item. As before, a single-item measure of comprehensibility was “only a scientist could figure out whether this is happening.”
Results: Is Event Happening
Participants who saw the Problem Recognition Ads showed significantly higher beliefs that the Polar Ice Caps were melting.

What could have caused this?
Results: "Signaling" (combining: "This event would signal that serious climate change could happen or is happening” and “This event is NOT related to man-made climate change.” [R])

(Note: one-tailed tests)
Severe Storms
[a local event] are rated a signal of climate change more in the experimental condition (M = 1.7) than in the control condition (M = 1.0, p = .02)

Strange Weather
[a local event] is a rated as signal of climate change more in the experimental condition (M = 1.9) than in the control condition (M = 1.0, p = .04)

Oceans Warming
[a global event] is rated as a signal of climate change more in the experimental condition (M = 2.6) than in the control condition (M = 2.0, p = .04)
No difference in comprehensibility "only a scientist" for any item.
Why are water bottles a little easier to study?
Let's take a look at the first seven slides...
Cultural Cognition: Kahan and Colleagues
Why should your position on the HPV vaccine correlate with your position on Climate Change?
General [Soc. Psych] Issues
Segmentation and Branding
Behavioral Decision Theory
even in cases where investments are made after a disaster we often seem to quickly forget why we undertook them in the first place. The catastrophic flooding that New Orleans suffered in Hurricane Katrina in 2005, for example, has been widely attributed to a failure to invest in maintenance of the levees that were constructed in response to the floods of Hurricane Betsy in 1965 (Brinkley 2006). . . Galveston [built] a protective sea wall [yet] ... few saw the need to build similar protection ...that could have prevented the large losses of property that recently resulted from Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Decisions about whether it is worthwhile to invest in mitigation against low-probability,
high-consequence, hazards are not east to make. Consider, for example, the dilemma of a
homeowner who is mulling over whether it is worthwhile retrofit his or her roof to make it more
hurricane-resilient, such as by installing additional tie-down straps and a stronger bed under the roofing shingles. From the perspective of classic decision theory the decision should be
straightforward: the homeowner should make this investment ifthe long-term expected benefits
of the mitigation exceed its costs. How would this be done? Here is the rub; while the advice is
easy to offer, implementing it in a rigorous matter would, in most cases, be virtually impossible.
Specifically, to implement the advice the homeowner would have to possess well-developed
beliefs about at least two probability distributions
A ubiquitous part of the folk mythologies of almost all cultures, for example, are stories of great deluges or floods-mythical descriptions of caused them (invariably angered gods), how they were survived, and how they might be avoided in the future (e.g., Dundes, 1988). The fact that people routinely gain knowledge about low-probability events without ever actually experiencing them would thus seem to pose a formidable problem for S-R explanations of why we often under-invest in mitigation. But there is a complication: the ability to engage in fictitious learning about hazards is a good thing only to the degree that the knowledge conveyed in these simulated memories is objectively helpful. If individuals and/or societies we have poor mental models of how and why natural hazards arise, then processes that reinforce these beliefs through story-telling would be decidedly counter-productive. False beliefs would be constantly self-reinforcing, and a society might find itself engaging in protective behaviors conceivably exacerbate rather than mitigate the risks they face from hazards.
Amplifying Role of Inappropriate Mental Models
S-R Learning and Mitigation
People Address Risks (e.g., through insurance, when the odds can be expressed precisely.
If people believe they can control risks, they are more willing to take them.
"The Mortality Effect": people will take more risks when there is no real possibility of a fatal outcome
Holt: Branding Climate
1. Sidesteps the counterbranding
2. Makes direct experience "available"
Preface: Julie Hudson, Development Director of 350.org comes to class
Not one student had heard of 350.org
None had heard of this:
My nonprofit marketing students care about climate change and other social issues (Black Lives Matter; Women's Issues; immigration) a great deal. (They are more concerned, however, with crushing student debt.)

No student had heard of 350.org Nobody knew what this was.
Slovic's study of the signaling
potential of disasters.
Slovic et al's
dimensionality of risk.
Better list of "signs of climate change?"
If anthropomorphism is an antecedent of people’s attachment to brands (Freling and Forbes 2005), do we name the bear

are new dependent variables "Trust" as well as reactance and memory for the rules?
Can "Pauly" encourage observation of the outside world and thus direct experience, which leads to greater affective attitude change??
More steps to engagement
e.g., a virtue of divestment
small behaviors, possibly observation of the outside world or small amounts of recycling, then self-perception and greater commitment?
political action
first? Even if it's
only a petition?
Barbara Kingsolver, in

Flight Behavior
, talks about
"team camo" and "team latte"
and their inability to
communicate with each other
Douglas and Wildavsky:
"group" and "grid"
Independent Variables:
Possible Hypotheses and DVs
Cognitive Responses
: support and counter arguments restatements

to the message, vs. traditional PSAs


Perceptions of Climate Change
is climate change occurring?

is climate change occurring?; who will be affected? From near me to only far away.

How easy to see?
incl. only by scientists.

: Opportunity to complete a Local petition vs. global petition; vs. no petition. Recycling Intent. Looking outside!

400 ppm vs.
http://www.PeoplesClimate.org 47s.
Note that, at least according to some commentators, this event
intention to act on climate change.
Task Forces, Special Issues
devoted to Climate change
It's a mixed motive game (PDG) / Tragedy of the commons! (Hardin)
Future costs are discounted /
The People who are affected will be far away.
Low Personal Efficacy: What difference does my recycling make if more coal plants are coming on line in China?
Avoidant Coping (Protection Motivation Theory):

It's too scary to think about!

Our sacred lifestyle (17 tons)
Ambiguity of the Evidence:

Fair and Balanced Coverage
Cottage Industry of Climate Deniers
Nor Naomi Klein
An Effective Counter-Brand: the American Legacy "Truth" Campaign
Conclusions from Studies
We have indications, but not proof, that "problem-recognition branding" can influence people to consider local events as signals of climate change.
Here's what we don't know: 1) was it the brand, or just the ads?
2) what are the aspects of the brand that make it effective? 3) What IS effectiveness? 4) If you just lead people to look outside, is that enough?
A Philosophy!
"First get the effect, then you can be subtle or sophisticated."

John Thibaut.
People are really resistant to threats to their freedom. "State" (situational) and "Trait" reactance scales are well validated.
Problem Recognition Branding vs. Traditional PSA
Do we need a logo?
Do we need a mascot?
Do we need a slogan?
Do we need explicit signs (e.g., "the 5 signs of CC")
Experiment 1: PRB vs. PSA
Smokey Bear
note there is an article "Smokey the bear should come to the beach."

Also, the evolution of Smokey mentions that he has 5 rules. I've downloaded the certificate with the rules.
most recognizable after santa claus:
Without the mascot: fluency and persuasion.
The ease of retrieval studies might imply that short lists might work better than long.
Brinol et al: ease and persuasion
Greenwald; also Petty: Cognitive Response Theory--people are persuaded if they generate their own arguments.
imagining, remembering or thinking about leads to more persuasion.
Ease of retrieval studies.
Petty: thought Confidence as a determinant of Persuasion
This has good methods: thought listing and processing the thoughts.
Lee and Labroo have good definitions, but not good measurement of fluency
Akerlof: This study demonstrates the important role
that belief in personal experience of global warming, particularly in one’s community, may play in influencing those risk perceptions, above and beyond the effects of political polarization and cultural issue frames

Measuring Fluency
Feels familiar to me
I have seen something like this before
expectation: I expect that something like this will be easy to understand
I could understand this very quickly

Conceptual fluency was measured by two 7-point items
(“To what extent this logo is easy to interpret?” and “To
what extent this logo conveys a clear meaning?”—1 =
not at all, 7 = a lot) developed by the authors based
on the construct definition (Whittlesea, 1993).
From Micili: Breaking through complexity (logos)
Perceptual fluency was measured by two 7-point items (“To what extent do you find this logo interesting?”—1 = not at all, 7 = a lot; and “This logo features graphical elements that attract your attention”—1 = completely disagree, 7 = completely agree: Labroo, Dhar, & Schwarz, 2008
Labroo Dhar and Schwarz JCR 2008 is very important!
Of Frog Wines and Frowning Watches: Semantic Priming, Perceptual Fluency, and Brand Evaluation
Once participants had circled and listed the eight
hidden words, they evaluated the jumble on four seven-point
scales (1 p dislike, negative, puts me in a bad mood, dif-
ficult; 7 p like, positive, puts me in a good mood, easy).
They also indicated how they processed the jumble (1 p
did it quickly, not at all involved; 7 p paid a lot of attention,
very involved) and how they felt at that moment (1 p
depressed, bad mood; 7 p uplifted, good mood).

They also com-
pleted questions designed to measure the perceptual ease
(1 p not at all attractive, not at all eye-catching; 7 p
very attractive, very eye-catching) of processing the filler
and the subjective ease of processing the filler product
(1 p dif ficult to process; 7 p easy to process). After this,
each participant evaluated MagicCoat pet shampoo.

Ease of Processing. A fluency index was computed
by averaging the three measures (1 p not at all attractive,
not at all eye-catching, difficult to process; 7 p very at-
tractive, very eye-catching, easy to proces
Note that this first paragraph is not so important, but the last two are!
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