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MPPC June 2016 Problem-Recognition Branding

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William Diamond

on 29 June 2016

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Transcript of MPPC June 2016 Problem-Recognition Branding

Problem-Recognition Branding
William Diamond
Isenberg UMass Amherst

Why is Effective Persuasive Communication about Climate Change so difficult?

Encouraging Directions
Direct Experience: Fazio and Zanna
Problem-Recognition Branding
Studies...so far
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!

Tweaking Problem Recognition Branding
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

[known, not catastrophic]

Five events—Oceans Warming, Extinctions, Worldwide Warming Trend, Polar Ice Caps Melting, and Glaciers Melting—loaded strongly on a second factor (
global events
) [
unknown risk--catastrophic
Two events—Extreme Temperatures and Droughts—loaded (less strongly) on both factors.
Acceptable scales. For example "is this happening" alpha is .88 and .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.
Cultural Cognition: Kahan and Colleagues
Why should your position on the HPV vaccine correlate with your position on Climate Change?
General [Soc. Psych] Issues
Approaches to Persuasive Communication: 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
Douglas Holt: Branding Climate
1. Sidesteps the counterbranding
2. Makes direct experience "available"
Not one student had heard of 350.org
None had heard of this:
Slovic's study of the signaling
potential of disasters.
Slovic et al's
dimensionality of risk.
If anthropomorphism is an antecedent of people’s attachment to brands (Freling and Forbes 2005), do we name the polar bear

Can "Pauly" encourage observation of the outside world and thus direct experience, which leads to greater affective attitude change?
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"
Possible Hypotheses and DVs
Cognitive Responses
: support and counter arguments restatements

to the message, vs. traditional PSAs


Perceptual Fluency

Task Forces, Special Issues
devoted to Climate change
It's a mixed motive game (PDG) / Tragedy of the commons! (Hardin)
Future costs are discounted /
Also, people believe that those most 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
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.
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")
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...so he uses problem-recognition branding!
most recognizable after santa claus:
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

We may be close to severe effects than we think, and the effects may be more severe than we think:

high group
low group
high grid: stratified by permanent characteristics
low grid: egalitarian
low group high grid
high group low grid
From Science Daily: Extreme weather events like floods, heat waves and droughts can devastate communities and populations worldwide.
Recent scientific advances have enabled researchers to confidently say that the increased intensity and frequency of some, but not all, of these extreme weather events is influenced by human-induced climate change
, according to an international National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine report released March 11 [2016]
Problem Recognition Branding vs. PSAs
March 22, 2016
A horrible spokesperson...if you are trying to persuade "team camo." (Douglas Holt)
Full transcript