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Velocity Messaging - Part 2

Generally speaking, a messaging campaign should be about movement. . . Unfortunately, many times people think it’s about volume. While ‘volume’ messaging may be good for say getting name ID up, it doesn't always activate or motivate people. If you want to persuade people to perform in a certain way, that is where I’d suggest our Velocity Messaging approach.

To continue where we left off from Velocity Messaging - Part 1: you have a candidate or piece of policy, or chocolate ice cream company, and you want to convince people to be a supporter of your product. So, you set out to develop a messaging survey that will help you do that.

Oftentimes, the process will include something like this:

Next, you will hear statements about ice cream. After each, please tell me if the statement makes you more or less likely to buy that flavor.

Statement 1: Vanilla ice cream is made by goblins.

More likely to buy vanilla: 0%

Less likely to buy vanilla: 100%

Statement 2: Chocolate ice cream cures diseases.

More likely to buy chocolate: 90%

Less likely to buy chocolate: 10%

Statement 3: Chocolate is better than vanilla

More likely to buy chocolate: 50%

Less likely to buy chocolate: 50%

And this is where some messaging surveys stop. Researchers may say ‘your best message to deter people from buying vanilla is to tell them it’s made by goblins’, because 100% of people were less likely to buy vanilla after hearing that message. Or they may say ‘chocolate cures diseases’ is pretty good at convincing people that chocolate ice cream is the way to go.

Although these messages may look strong because they received a large ‘volume’ of support, they may not actually be helpful at motivating people to buy more chocolate ice cream.

Think about this way: just because someone is ‘more likely’ to do something, doesn’t mean they’ll do it. If I were standing at the edge of a cliff and someone asked me if I would jump, I’d say no. If they then asked me ‘would you be more likely to jump if you knew that you’d only break your ankle?’ I’d say yes… but that wouldn’t change my mind; I’m still not jumping off that cliff.

So, this is where Velocity Messaging comes in, because we need to know whether people will actually move their position, not just whether they’re more likely to.

Step 1 (after we went through the Velocity Messaging – Part 1 exercise): we need a baseline understanding of where people currently stand on our product. To do this, I suggest using an Initial Ballot:

Given the choice, would you buy chocolate ice cream, vanilla ice cream, or no ice cream?... and would you definitely buy that flavor, or just somewhat likely?

Step 2: we can now ask our Messaging Series (goblins, curing disease, etc.):

After hearing each statement, please tell me if you are more or less likely to buy that flavor.

Step 3: we ask an Informed Ballot to find out if any of those messages resonated with people, and moved them (i.e., changed their opinion, or augmented their purchasing behavior):

Now knowing more about ice cream, would you buy chocolate ice cream, vanilla ice cream, or no ice cream?... and would you definitely buy that flavor, or just somewhat likely?

Step 4: we look at each message by cohort of people (opposition, undecided, supporters) to determine how their behavior may change after hearing each message.

Opposition Movers: the 33% who initially said they would purchase vanilla ice cream.

Looking at this table of people who initially said they would buy vanilla ice cream, we can see that even though the first two messages seemed to be ‘strong’ by indicating these vanilla lovers were more or less likely to purchase a certain flavor, the messages were not successful in persuading purchase behavior.

However, the message about chocolate being better than vanilla, though it didn’t perform as strongly in the messaging series section (i.e. not as high in volume), actually moved 30% of this group to change their purchase behavior.

Undecided Movers: the 33% who initially said they would not purchase ice cream.

We can see the same thing with this group: the first two messages were unsuccessful in motivating them to buy ice cream, but hearing “chocolate is better than vanilla” motivated 30% of non-ice cream buyers to want to try chocolate ice cream.

Support Solidifiers: the 33% who initially said they would purchase chocolate ice cream (of which 50% said Somewhat, and 50% said Definitely).

Finally, among the 33% of people were already going to purchase chocolate ice cream, we see that “chocolate is better than vanilla” solidified their support. In this example, many of the people who were somewhat likely to purchase now definitely will.

To wrap up Parts 1 and 2, we believe starting the conversation by thoughtfully determining who we’re looking to target, and how we want to persuade them, is a prerequisite to drafting messaging or survey questions. We’ll end up with more targeted results that will show us how to actually move people.

Important note: these conversations are much more productive when they take place over ice cream sundaes.

Cover photo via Giphy.


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