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Building a Communication Strategy for Diversity and Inclusion


Hi, I'm Eric ni editor and chief of Stanford social innovation review which aims to inform and inspire leaders of social change. Learn more at SSI are dot org. Communication strategy. Can't be an afterthought for the Wanda fully embrace diversity equity and inclusion that may require a careful examination of the words, images ideas, and the narrative framing that your organization uses at our two thousand eighteen nonprofit management in Stu conference and Cristiano an anti Neimand described how to craft stories and multimedia experiences the drive social change using insight from systems, thinking and social behavioral and cognitive science. Cristiano hose the Frank Carroll chair in public interest communications at university of Florida college of journalism and communications and is director of the school's center for public interests communication, where Neiman is research director. I recently two weeks ago went to Montgomery, Alabama. On a quest for a story that is one of my favorite stories about how change happens. But it's not a story that we hear enough the stories about this woman. Her name is JoAnne Robinson. She's so glamorous standing next to this new car and JoAnne Robinson was an extraordinary woman. She was a professor at Alabama state college and she loved working there. She loved teaching. She had a wonderful relationship with the university president and one day in nineteen forty nine. She was on her way to the airport. She got on the bus and sat down just thinking about how excited she was to see her family. But as she looked up she saw the driver of the bus coming toward her with his arm raised saying, you can't sit there. That's not your see you need to sit in the back of the empty bus. She was devastated. She was humiliated, and she got off the bus in tears. She called friends who drove to the airport. And thought of nothing else that Christmas she continued to think about that moment for five years until she became president of the women's political council in Montgomery. The women's political council was an organization that had been founded to begin to or to bring women together around civil rights issues and win JoAnne Robinson became the leader. She wrote a letter to the mayor of Montgomery, Alabama. And then that letter she said, you know. We as black writers of the bus experience so much horror. We are often abused either verbally or physically it's often. True that when we get on at the front of the bus and pay our fair and are required to get back on the bus in the back, whereas to pay again buses, don't stop as often in black neighborhoods as in white ones. And there aren't nearly enough. Plus drivers. We think that you should change this. Because if you don't we might boycott a boycott would be devastating to the bus company because most of your writers are black. Don't let her went unanswered and JoAnne Robinson bided her time one day in this spring of nineteen fifty five. Young woman named quota colon was arrested for not giving up her seat. She was fifteen years old and JoAnne Robinson wondered if the moment to boycott had come. But she was worried that the people of the city wouldn't rally around Claudette because she was so young. She swore when she was arrested, and she was concerned trying Robinson was concerned that she wouldn't have the support of the city. Another young woman was arrested over the summer, and again, JoAnne didn't think that she had the support to make a boycott happen. But then on December first, Rosa Parks was arrested. And when she refused to give up her seat and the police came on the best. She simply said you may arrest me. When Fred Craig hall, JoAnne Robinson that evening to tell her what had happened that day. They agreed that the moment had come and that it was time for the boycott to happen at the boycott should be that Monday the day that Rosa Parks of the arraigned, but he said to her how are we going to let fifty thousand people know that they shouldn't ride the bus. She said, I got this. I got this. And he said. Well, this is going to need a leader who's going to lead this movement. And she said, well, I don't know about I have this new pastor, and he's just amazing. He can change people's hearts with his words. So. The day the morning December fifth. Everybody woke up and wondered whether the buses whether the boycott would be held. But it was raining. So people worried that people might take the bus anyway. But JoAnne Robinson watched with anticipation and enjoy as empty bus after empty bus rattled through Montgomery. That night five thousand people poured into whole street Baptist church and in that meeting the two two things they formed a monk Gumri improvement association. They voted that young pastor that young charismatic pastor to be their leader. Even though he was concerned that he wasn't really up to the task. And they voted to sustain the boycott until segregation on public transportation in Montgomery and. The boycott continued for more than a year until the supreme court. Finally struck down the Jim crow laws that made that segregation possible. I love this story because too often history history that we're taught the history that we learn in school obscures, the real truth in strategy that drives movements and drives change for so many of us. We've heard a simplistic version of the story of the mum re bus boycott the story that we so often hear is that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in the the people of the city of Montgomery poured into the streets in support of her. It obscures all the strategy and organizing and sacrifice and waiting and strategizing that so many people contributed to that movement strategy that we could learn from today think about this a lot because came to the university of Florida eight years ago too. Begin working toward establishing a new academic discipline in public interest communications public interest communications science driven. It's approached the street at strategic communications that resulted lasting change on an issue that transcends the interest of any single person organization and advances are greater good. My trainings in this discipline public relations public relations is the management of relationships between an organization and its publics any differences that you see between these two definitions any anything jump out at you know, really tell me. Science-based? Yes. Thank you. What else? Yes. What else? Man. Yeah. This is about an organization. This is about how we make organizations better. And how we help individual companies and organizations not how we change the world and my favorite word in. This entire definition is transcends it transcends, the interests of any organization, and it is certainly true that if we are going to make a difference in the issues that matter most we need a disciplined for communication that allows us to focus on the issues that matter most I'm not suggesting that at the university of Florida, we have invented communications that changes the world people have been doing that. For decades people have been doing that for hundreds of years. All I'm saying is we need to have a discipline that allows people to choose this as a career, and that allows people to use the best of what we know from science and case studies to communicate and make a difference on the issues that matter most to all of us in this room. That are going to help us build the world. We wish existed in that spirit. We've created some tools that we humbly offer in support the work that you're doing and we'd like to share those with you today in the hope that they're helpful to you. And that they help you make a difference on the issues that matter most to you. So being out of university. We have the privilege of being surrounded by some of the greatest minds trying to solve some of our biggest challenges, and we have unlimited access to databases full of really innovative ideas that have been around for twenty years fifty years. Ten years in academic research. We spend a lot of time looking at behavioral science cognitive science social science, the humanities case studies historic and present to really understand. What do we do? How do we design strategy that leads to an actual belief or behavior change, we don't simply raise awareness, but we designed strategy in a way that the outcome results in lasting change on the issues that you're working on. So we hold all of those sites together. And we have created what we call the back of the envelope guide to communication strategy. And this is a. Four question framework that we think is really agile and flexible, and you can pull it out of your pocket next time, you're sitting down and thinking about how are we going to approach this issue, and it will help you get super focused, and if you could take the insights that we know from all of this research as you answer these four questions, we believe that you'll be a completely different place than you might have been before. Or at least help focus your strategy a bit more. So here, they are the magical questions number one. What do you want to be true? That isn't true. Now, this is about figuring out what is your strategic goal. What is the thing? You wish is happening that isn't happening now who has to act or do something different for you to achieve that goal. This is your audience the community that you want to mobilize the policymaker that you want to influence who who do you need to target in order to realize question number one question number three. What would they believe that would motivate? To do that. What could we tell them what messaging or stories could we create and share that would motivate them to do the thing that is so necessary for you to achieve your goal. And lastly, how you get that message in front of them. These are your tactics. How do you get it in front of their eyeballs? How do you capture their attention and keep them engaged? So we're going to go through each of these four questions, and as we do we want you to think about a project, you're currently working on maybe a challenge that you want to take on and think about how you might apply. Some of the insights that we've found in we're excited to share with you to your own work. And and see where you end up at the end. So the first question is what do you want to be true that isn't true right now? So this is about picking a strategic goal and to pick a strategic goal you really have to make a deliberate choice. We can't just simply say I want to end breast cancer. I want to end racism, I want to end discrimination in the workplace. We all want that. But where do we start? How do we begin to take on these huge issues? Right. Instead, we need to pick deliberate paths that will focus us and that if we achieve the goal that takes us on that path allowed her up to our bigger goal. So for instance, if you wanted to address gender discrimination out of university, you could focus on your recruitment strategy, look at your language, you have coded language, where are you recruiting from are you recruiting from places that has a homogeneous group of people that is resulting in a certain group of people constantly being hired. Or you might say, let's have universal family care for all families. Those are two very different things. Both of those things are very important. But both of those things to happen will require a very different communication strategy. And we can't do everything at the same time. So we need to choose a deliberate path it'll feel a little bit like you're giving something up because we want to do everything. But we believe you'll be so much more effective. If you could get hyper focused on this one thing if we focus on this domino right here. It will make a difference on the issue. So to do that we really need to know that issues that we're working on inside and out, right? We need to know what are the root causes that are leading to the outcome. We need to use systems thinking to figure out what's happening here. And where if we target our communications efforts it will make a difference and transform the system if every system is perfectly designed to live to deliver its results. How can we target pieces of the system? So the result is different. And this is not a typo. We believe that to be affective UD to do less with more. We need to get super focused on where within the system. We could focus our energy, focus, our communications, and as a result of getting hyperfocused. There's a different outcome. We really like using this multi level framework to think about how to start mapping these systems. How to think about what are the different factors that play that we might wanna target you might think about what's hopping happening on the micro level what's happening between individuals interactions. What are the social norms that are going on you might think about what's going on the measure level? What's the culture? What's the culture within the organization? What are the stories that are being told over and over again that reproduce the system as it is or you might focus on what's happening at the macro level in terms of policies and procedures and how you might target any of those things to make a difference. And there's lots of different research that we're finding that says if we could choose to use different tactics identified in the research, we can make a difference in these spaces whether that's focusing on social norms. Introducing new narratives on the cultural level or using nudges to affect policy. So if you were to think about the Montgomery bus boycott in this context, one of the things that MS Robinson did so brilliantly was focused on transportation throughout Montgomery throughout the south where there were separate hotels and suffered restaurants separate schools all in the name of separate but equal separate, but any obviously, but the bus system was different transportation is expensive buses are expensive. So they were already partially segregated people were riding the same buses. So she recognized that this was a place in the system where a well. Designed communication strategy could make a difference and vilocci some of the goals of cigarette of desegregation. So once you've identified the path, you would like to take identified the domino that you wanna push you. Then could do the work to figure out who exactly do I need to reach in order to make that thing happen. And the answer is not everyone. You can't reach everybody. We don't have unlimited resources or time, and we're all so different. And we're all motivated by different things and have different identities and values and world view that to try to reach everybody would be almost impossible and science supports us in this. So I spend a lot of time looking at how the human mind works. Why? We avoid information way why we engage with information. And I'm and I'm going to share with you a couple of insights that help us think about why we really need to narrow in on a particular audience. So I signed tells us that we're all really really good at avoiding information. And we avoid information for three reasons if it makes us feel bad. So if you have ever gotten up to make a sandwich when the. ASPCA commercial comes on because another side picture of a dog is just too much to bear. Because we don't like to feel sad. We all have animals, but we don't like to feel sad second. We avoid information that obligates us to do some thing. We really really don't wanna do and studies have found this to be true on a range of issues even issues that are critical for our well-being in our health. We'll avoid information that is life saving if it would obligate us to do something. We don't want to do and third. We avoid information that threatens our identities and our deeply held values and are worldviews. Researchers have looked at what they call moral values across a range of contexts and places, and they found that people tend to have five values that follow along political continuum people who are more conservative tend to value respect for authority preserving the sacred favoritism toward the in group. The people who are more liberal tentative, Allieu, Justice and equality and these. Values on unconscious level shape. How we formed judgments and how we interpret information. And if we present information to people in a way that challenges those deeply held values. They'll avoid your information. And we think that's what's going on. When we look at the opponents to the black lives matter movement. They hear your life. Does it matter as much as mine, even though we know that's not what is being said. But there's some sort of on an unconscious level threat that they perceive to an identity, and so they avoid our information or they denier information and this happens on a range of issues. So if you're trying to reach somebody, and it's threatening those values they might be avoiding your information second. We know that people are not rational beings, we walk around and we make decisions and form judgments on a gut emotional level. If you present information to me, and for some reason, it makes me feel bad. I'll find a reason to tell you why it's wrong, even though we know it's right or. If you tell me something, and it makes me feel good. I will find a reason to justify why. It's right. Even though it might be wrong. And this happens all the time. This is how constantly engaging with information. Now, researchers are believed that that gut intuition is tied to perceptions of harm. So if you present information to me, and if feel like it might cause harm to my community to my identity to my status to the things that I believe in. I will find a reason to justify why it's wrong, and we could see that with the immigration ban one side thinks they're protecting country from from threat from terrorism. Another side believes they're protecting people from threat of violence and war. Neither side are villains or stupid or trying to make a bad decision. They both think they're doing something. Right. They both think they're protecting someone from harm even though you might not agree with one side. And this is happening all the time. And lastly, we know that identity drives engagement what we engage with engage with the content. We seek out has more to do with who we are than the content itself. So we seek out information that's touch to our identities are you into running or you into cooking, are you into culture and travel that sort of stuff shapes what we engage with we look for content that helps us solve problems. That helps us be a better version of ourselves. That's why I love this. I love Anthony board Danes show because it brings us into complex topics around systemic racism, systemic inequality through food, and culture. We have this shared identity. We have this shared interests. And because we're brought in through that were more open to hearing about these things that we might have otherwise avoided because of information avoidance. So these things are happening all the time when you're. Trying to communicate with a particular group of people and persuade them to think differently. These are some of the things that are happening. So when I was at the Robert Wood Johnson foundation, we were trying to help policymakers understand what causes people to be healthy and unhealthy and helping policy makers particularly understand the for many for so many people for so many communities the reason for differences and health lie outside of the healthcare system. So as we begin to figure out who our target audiences might be for this. We started talking to people with a range of political perspective. What things we discovered along the ways that people who are conservative saw health is a journey people who are more liberal health as a system the people who were liberal could see the journey, but the people who are conservative couldn't see the system. And so to communicate about this in a way that would reach a group of people who are not all ready convinced we had to wrap the message in the context of journey and use the metaphor of journeys her out even invoking in every. Piece of imagery that we used as part of this project. It seems like an unlikely or surprising choice to put a picture of a road on the front of a report on the obstacles to help. But when you understand it within that perspective, it starts to make a bit more sense. So we told stories to help people see health in the context of journey. But in those stories included the systems that caused people to be healthier unhealthy. As characters in the story and presented an opportunity for people to empathize circumstances that were profoundly different from their own by taking that approach. We were able to bring together people around a topic that previously had been able to have that discussion about it. So really understanding that our target audience was these moderately conservative policy makers who could be reached if we talked about in a way that resonated with the metaphors that they are used to understand the problem allowed us. To get people on board into the conversation that had previously turned away from us. So once you've chosen your path, and I've identified the group of people or the individual that will be most critical for cheating your goal, you can then do the work to figure out. What would they believe and that would motivate them to take action? This is why we need to know our audience. So well, we need a really focused audience. So we can know their world views and their values and their identities. So we could craft communication way that's going to resonate with them and move them. So importantly, what we want you to take away. With is that your message is not a script. Your message is not a tagline. Your message is how you want people to think about the issue. And we've spent a lot of time looking at what are the best ways to convey, the problems the solutions and motivate people to take action, and what science tells us is that more than anything we need to tell stories so human mind naturally. Wants to hear information through stories. None of us. Stay up all weekend long, binging infographics. Right. You did a wait in line ours. Our hours to get a ticket to read the latest report that came out from an organization, right? No, we crave. Stories. We want to engage with stories stories, hold her attention more than any other form of communication. Melanie green? Who studies concept called narrative transportation. That's when we get so lost in a story that were in gross in it. We feel like we're there. And it's the best stories. She says narrative transportation effects work through reducing counter, arguing creating connections. But with the characters through identifying with them and liking them and increasing perceptions of realism emotional involvement. We walk in the character shoes. We imagine what it's like to experience the world around them. And because of that we return from that story different their experience becomes our experienced. We remember that experience like an anecdote of her own and informs judgments and decisions moving forward. And stories are really powerful for reducing our inclinations to counter argue because we don't see intent to persuade it just seems like a great story. This is particularly true as we try to tell stories about systemic inequalities. So stories are really great at letting us do the work and put the pieces together. So by the end of it, we understand systemic issues inside and out. I love this example, from the New York Times, it's a story about an off a vet from Afghanistan who could not find work when he got back. He had PTSD he got into some trouble with the law, and he just couldn't find work. But the story wasn't really necessarily just about that. It was told through the eyes of Ashley they were high school sweethearts they have loved each other since they were kids and they just wanted to get married so badly, but they couldn't they couldn't afford. It actually was working tirelessly to provide for him as he looked for work. And they just couldn't get the money together to get married. Until they met a man a judge who had lost a nephew in the Afghanistan war and heard his story and connected him with a group that got him a job as a carpenter and on Halloween. They got married. And this story was published in the proposal section of the New York Times. And what I love about this story is we enter the world of people like Sam through something that is unexpected like love, something, we all have experienced thing, we can imagine. And we listen to their read their love story, and we just want to figure out. How can we help Sam find a job? So they can finally get married. We put the pieces together what we need our programs that help that find work when they get back and help rehabilitate them. They don't give us for we need to help our vets they give us two plus two through a compelling story about love that helps a whole group of people who might never think about this issue. Think about it differently. In have an opinion on this issue. Stories are also really powerful because they make the new familiar often when we're trying to explain the issues that we're working on through story. It's really hard. How do you begin to tell somebody who doesn't think in systems about social determinants of health? Right. That's might be completely new to them. But if we could wrap our our work in plot structures that are familiar like Cinderella story. Science tells us that that helps orient our audience to how they should feel whose the whose Cinderella who's the evil stepmother, who's the prince charming? How should I feel about this? I'm gonna use existing schema that I already have to make sense of the thing that I'm reading right now. It's also true that when we are trying to moat motivate audiences that might be very familiar with our audience. They might have story from fatigue from hearing the same story over and over and over again, so we could play with plot structures and may help make something that's very familiar new. We see this a lot in some of the work that we do the humanitarian sector around refugees. If you look at the research, it tells us that the master narrative, the news media that refugees pose a threat or a burden to their host communities. The humanitarian sector is trying to counter that master narrative with the narrative that refugees are just like you and me, but they lost everything. And they just need. Our help problem is now they're telling that story over and over again, and we have a new master narrative that situates refugees as having a lack of agency. So we're working with organizations to really think about how we use different structures to tell counter narratives that make us think differently about the issue and bring. People in who might have been tired of hearing the same story over and over again or change the master narrative that people might have in their mind about the issue. So the other thing that we need to do in our stories is navigate the full an empty spaces of the stories strategically when you took your composition classes in elementary school. Your teachers told you to write with lots of vivid detail into ten clued everything into really complete. But the reality is the most powerful parts of your stories can be the parts that you leave out. They can be the parts that you leave out details. So that people can imagine their own experience in that. So if I was telling a story and wanted to leave space for you to insert your own experience, I would simply say school and allow you to insert what is familiar to you? But if I anticipated the have some bias or prejudice about school, I might fill that up with the kind of detail that Anthony and Stephanie just gave us because that would allow me to rewrite what's in your mind with vivid image. So you can start to see how you can strategically navigate those empty and full spaces the story than any just told us about the couple in the Val section of the New York Times, the empty space is the love empty spaces wanting so much to get married. Many of us have felt that craving that ached that desire to be with the person that we love so much before face is understanding the challenge of their personal journey to get there. So thinking very carefully about where you have empty space in your stories, and where you have full spaces in restores allows you to leverage them completely. But it's also true. And this is one of the areas that we have to really careful about we hear people constantly saying, we just need more data. For my birthday. I wanted t shirt that says sT data one more time. Because one of the things that we've seen from psychology. Researchers here at Stanford is that when we just share data without sharing the context of a story, we can reinforce stereotypes people start to engage in some of the moral reasoning any was talking about earlier. So we have to be really careful about letting the data speak for itself and by the way data's a crummy advocate for anything. It's also true that. Emerging body of research in psychology starting to suggest that when we're left to our own devices where likely to presume the most extreme positions among others who are not in our group. So if we don't provide that context about somebody who is not in the in group. So the person who's listening is going to ascribe to them and extreme perspective. So it's really important that we include that nuance in that context, and I loved this study this came out of some recycle Aji research in Germany recently. They did this study where they put this image in front of people. And then they showed it in such a way that when they closed when I they could only see one of the images, so as you can see the image on the left doesn't have the set of parallel lines. There's a piece of information missing from the image as the person the image on the right is complete. However, they would position this. So that you would see the image on the left and the blank spot in the center would be. In their blind spot. Here's the crazy part about this study when they asked people which image, they trusted more to be a set of solid lines. It was the one on the left. Doesn't that terrify you? So that the what they believe is that are we trust more the images and beliefs that we have in our own brains rather than the information that we get from outside of our brains. So it's really important that we tell these complete and ho stories that are filled with context in new ones if we want to overwrite judice. I loved how over Winfrey did this in her acceptance speech earlier this year the way that she navigates the full spaces of the story in her experience in nineteen sixty four watching Sidney Poitier. Win the award that she was winning that night. You see these vivid details, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum not the floor the linoleum when I hear linoleum like. Oh, yeah. I remember exactly what linoleum looks like she says. She talks about how Sidney Poitier was so elegant she talks about the whiteness of his tire against the darkness of his skin are brings loving contrast. Our brains are a tune to contrast. And she talks about what it meant to be a little girl watching this from the cheap seats. I love that image and her mother coming in as all of this is happening exhausted from cleaning other people's houses in this incredibly short phrase, she captured so much he navigates so much space in empty space. She brings us into her story, we feel what she felt. And we also use that empty space to a magin without her saying it, she says she alludes to it much later, but we feel it here we feel her thinking about what her winning this award means other little girls. So this is such a brilliant use of full space and empty space. The other thing that we think a lot about in storytelling is the fact that the most affected are the most effective. Think about that. For a moment. I come from a foundation background, and it was my job to tell people's stories. And as I reflect on that, I wish I could go back and undo some of that telling other people's stories that I did. And I wish I could have gotten out of the way and made more room for them to tell their own stories as we look at the incredible successes that have been achieved by the coalition of Moccoli workers in getting grocery stores to pay a few cents more for every bucket of tomatoes. That's picked to ensure that they can have fair housing and a fair wage. It's extraordinarily, but they're telling their own story, they're telling their own experience and watching this. Dairy farmers in Vermont have achieved similar successes. They took on Ben and Jerry's. They took on Unilever and said, we should not be working twelve hour days as dairy farmers. We should be able to have a break we should be able as working as hard as we are to be able to live in a home with our families. We shouldn't be virtually homeless. And so in their protests in telling that story in front of Ben and Jerry stores all over the country. They took on Unilever, and they won and are now getting a minimum wage of fifteen dollars an hour. And couldn't give them more powerful example of this than. Park Lane students in Florida taking on one of the most profound issues of our time an issue that so many people have tried to talk about for so long and failed. And yet these students are so eloquent, and so powerful and speech on the National Mall in which she was silent for six minutes. Allowing us to imagine the horror that she and her fellow students endured was such a brilliant use of empty space and allowed us to imagine. Without her even saying what that experience was like, there's a reason that these young people are so affective it is because they are the most effective, and they are authentic and powerful. And we believe everything that we say, and we want to support them because we empathize with their experience. They are the story they tell their own story, and we are experiencing all of the dynamics that Melanie green talks about in her research when you're thinking about messaging, and when you're thinking about strategy in general. We've heard this repeated over and over today it matters. Who's at the table. I think about this. When I think about Patricia hill Collins, who's my academic crush. I love every single thing that she's written cheese. The reason I getting a doctorate in sociology. She's great. And she looked at our discipline of sociology. And she said this different discipline reflects the privilege of white men who have historically been represented in the field the questions at the ask the methodologies that they they they have the way in which academe Lia is structured, and she's and because of that black women historically have been marginalized within academia. And as a result we have suffered. We have not had the insights at the same level that we've had white men's incites in academia, and it was only when black feminists thinkers entered academia and pushed us to think differently and pushed us to question our methods and the questions that we ask that the institution changed. So it matters who's there because that determines what questions get asked. What approaches get adopted? And we we protect ourselves from taking colorblind gender-blind class blind blind approach to the work that we do. And when we can take an intersectional approach work as you all know, the work is just simply better. I can really Crenshaw mentioned many times today in her groundbreaking work. She looked at some of the organizing done by sect of the feminist movement and the black liberation movement. And she said with a within a certain group of feminist activists. Black women's experiences have been ignored in. So we're only really hearing the stories of white women and white women's issues are only being considered the black liberation movement. We're only taking the focus of Blackman's experience in both movements. Black women have been raised. And so if we don't take an intersectional approach we are vulnerable to a racing multiple perspectives from the work that we're doing. And when we do that the work suffers it's incomplete, and we're not going to be affective. So when you're thinking about the power that you have and the decisions that you make in the corner of the world that you sit in it matters. Who's next to you? It matters. How you make space and bring as many representations and perspectives as possible. So we're not blind and making. Bad strategy around policy or culture. So once you've identified your path your strategic goal, the domino you're going to focus on and the audience that is most critical for you to achieve that goal. And the third what you could say to them. What stories you could tell to motivate them to do that you then need to think about how do I get that communication in front of them? How do I get in front of their eyeballs? So we believe that you need to connect to the conversation. That's already happening. We are not advocates of making a website. Putting it up writing a blog and putting the blog post on Twitter and Tada. We did communications. That's not what we are advocating for we need to be part of the conversation. That's already happening. I love this example of that comes from the electoral Justice project. We're strategists saw the power of Black Panther millions of people went to go see this movie. And when they saw it they felt empowered. They wanted to do something they told us sense of identity. They felt a sense of community and they wanted to take action they wanted to activate the news agency. So they put out a strategy for people to hold of voting voter registration campaigns an hour before the film, and after to get more people to register to vote they didn't put up a website and try to get everyone to come to their website and registered to vote. They went to where people were they went to stories being. Told that we're motivating people and they attached their call to action. So what was already happening? And of course, we can't talk about it without discussing this campaign. And we've been talking a lot about this in academe. Yeah, there's a lot of and in the world there's lots of questions about whether this is a really fantastic way to sell secrets or whether Nike is taking an important stand. And making an important statement. It is certainly possible that both of those statements are true. But it is also true that Nike has joined an important conversation. Corporations are living in a moment where they are forced to take a stand on social issues. They are being required to tell people where they stand on social issues. And so that creates an interesting opportunity for us to open up a larger conversation about the issues that matter most to us. We also need to think about how we can create an opportunity for people to participate in the work that we're trying to make happen. I think me to the metoo movement has done this exceptionally. Well, it's it's not we're not seeing me to connected to any particular organization. It's a hashtag that any person can adopt to tell their story and participate in the conversation and shift how we are thinking as a society about sexual violence sexual harassment and as a result because we've created space for everyone to participate. We see lots of pressure on institutions to self reflect change their practices. So I didn't tell you how JoAnne Robinson. Ultimately did get that message out about the boycott the night that Fred Greg hauled her. She went back to her building. And she typed up this flyer. She said another woman has been arrested and thrown into jail because she refused to get up out of her seat on the bus for a white person to sit down. It is the second time since the Claudette. She meant to say, Colin she said Kobe covert once. Uneager woman has been arrested for the same thing. This has to be stopped negroes have rights too for negroes did not ride the bus. They could not operate free force. The riders are negroes get we're arrested or have to stand over empty seats. If we do not do something to stop these arrests. They'll continue the next time. It may be you or your daughter or your mother. I can't even imagine what it must have felt like after enduring that kind of racism for so many years and Montgomery to have one of these flyers pressed into your hand. Joanne Robinson typed up this flyer. And she and her students made fifty thousand copies on mimeograph machine. Imagine turning and turning and turning it all night long until three o'clock in the morning. The cut them. They tied them into bundles. They loaded them into our into their car. And then JoAnne Robinson went and taught her eight AM class after class she and her students strove throughout the city taking the bundles to the highly networked people who they knew would get them into the right hands of everybody. They knew by that was Friday by Saturday. Dr king released his own flyer announcing the boycott what I love so much about her story is that she didn't ask anybody's permission. She waited for her moment, she knew had come and she acted. I love to think about that moment of getting that flyer. It of making that decision. But incredible sacrifice of all the people who chose not to ride the bus knowing that they would likely face violence and arrest and incredible exhaustion. Thank you so much. We're really excited about this. We play with these ideas, we understand that using the four question framework for your ideas takes a little bit of practice. It takes a little bit of time. And we hope that you'll work with it. Because once you start to try to her three times, I think you'll find that it gets easier and easier, and then you're that just becomes rain works. So we'd love to hear your observations and answer any questions. Thank you. So I have a question about. In very focused and targeted on one thing. So my community is in the process right now of launching an equity planning community-wide getting the voices from the community and having them set the agenda, so that becomes somewhat problematic and terms of messaging, if we are to focus on just one thing because what I know is that there will be a plethora of things that people want to see strategies and actions kind of across the board. So what your feedback on that? I mean, I'm just real interested in and communication strategy. That will address you you bring in a group of people, and you say, we wanna know what you want and we wanna put it into action. Then there needs to be action and messaging is a big part of that. I think the first thing that I would just acknowledge is that yes, you're going to get hundred ideas, you're going to feel like you can't prioritize them. But if you don't make some choices about that. If you don't make some of those deliberate, choices time and exhaustion will. So you've maybe need to be deliberate about thinking, which of those things might be more doable. Which those things are well positioned for success that could give you some credibility and create a bright spot that you could take on that might create make it easier for you to take on some of the harder things later on the thought about that. Yeah. And I think I love that you are bringing together the people that you serve to make the set the goals with you. I think that's great. And then I think if you could engage in systems engage in systems thinking exercises to pinpoint where we should focus this face. And you're. The need different communication strategies. Let's say you pick three goals for this. Phase. Each one's gonna need a different strategy. You get through that phase. And those things might need to happen before you can get to the second phase. But over time the hope is because you've been so deliberate all ladder up to the bigger goal of the community. Fantastic presentation, quite taken what you said about the most effected the most effective so much not profit leaders us images of L caught sometimes with the appropriate consents to help people to our Cho's and to obtain funding. I've director who says stay we shouldn't trade on the disadvantage, if you've got any view on head one can use the various. Suggestions of made, but not fun to balance with trading on the weekly rethink about this a lot because many times ordinations that are nonprofits may not be engaging in public interest communications, they may be engaging in public relations, right because to be able to fundraise to be able to help our board of trustees understand that we're having an impact in our community. We need to show the stories of how we're making a difference. So we tell the stories of the people that are organization has helped that creates a new master narrative in which the people that were most for whom are most trying to change things really just need our help. And they really just need more money, which is actually the solution to the problem at all. So if he were taking public interest communications approach to that challenge, you might invite some of those people into your organization as employees spokespeople putting them on your board and creating an. Unity for them to advocate for others. But also talking about this making sure that you're not simply telling the story of how your organization has helped people, but telling the story of how others have helped other people to is there anything to that. Well, one of the things that we're starting to experiment with on our end is thinking about what it would look like if an organization focused less on collecting stories from the people they serve and putting them on their websites and providing storytelling communication training, and let people tell their own stories and see what happens. I also love the idea of organizations partnering with really great storytellers. I had the privilege of presenting at YouTube in London in front of all of these content creators who have millions of followings, and it was very intimidating just like this. I was struck like they are so passionate. They wanna make a difference. But they don't know what the call to action is. But they they have the trust of their community. They make really compelling content. But they're not the strategists. So imagine a world where really great content creators worked with strategists like you, and we're able to tell stories in spaces people already are in had people. Tell those stories who already have the trust and engagement of the communities that you're trying to reach. So I think if we think about leveraging influencers and unleashing communities to tell their own stories and get out of the way, that's kind of exciting, and and maybe different than what we've already been doing. I think sometimes when we talk about telling stories we feel like all of those stories have to be success stories or stories of how we've created transformation in the community, but that's not necessarily true. Wouldn't it be amazing? If you started telling the stories of some of the people who work in your organization and what? Compels them to do that. And what made them choose to go into that field in the first place what inspires them. I think some of those stories and having the opportunity to empathize with people who have that level of commitment, particularly if you've been successful and building a diverse and inclusive team within your organization that that can be even more compelling inspiring than telling the people the stories of people who may have been clients. Hi, I'm curious about you know, when you get into these things or winners in their losers. Meaning we're talking about power dynamics here, and when you're affective in strategic communications. That's I'm sure you both are you're going up against probably a well-funded adversary of some kind, and when they lose they don't always like it, and they can come back and reframe you pretty effectively to get back in their position. So how do you use this type of methodology to fight back? When you take a punch. Are you speaking from personal experience? Purely. Apparently, hypothetically ask you. I think the answer to this is a little bit simplistic and forgive me for that. 'cause I've had all of two minutes to think about this. But I think we're one of the things that we really would encourage you to do with the four questions and with your strategic planning is to focus where you can on the shared win and to try to find that place of shared win. When I think about. The Moccoli farmworkers and their incredible achievements. Their achievement allowed the companies that buy their products to tell a better story about how they're supporting workers. But something that organizations really need to be doing right now, they need to be demonstrating if they want hustlers Wendy's is dealing with a six year boycott because they're the only fast food company that hasn't supported the Moccoli farm workers requests to support the tomato pickers. And so it's putting them in a really difficult position where they are losing and actually accepting what they're asking for would be a win for them. That's what Unilever recognized with the bed and Jerry's dairy workers. So I think the more that you can find that space for the shared win. Always find it. It's not always there. But when you can work within the system, it's better but going back to the monk Maria bus boycott for sure they were massive losers. When people. Got on the bus after the boycott was lifted and got to sit wherever they want one of the things that they had to worry about was snipers. And so the what you're saying Israel, and I don't mean to reduce that. But from a pragmatic perspective finding the shared win where we can is one way to avoid that. I have a an observation and question, I work for a consulting firm, and we work alongside with a lotta nonprofits and collaborative organizations and one of the things that we observe in me run into is nonprofits are often pulled into many directions in terms of the information. They have to collect because they have to get that to the funders asking all those questions. So it's a poll in terms of the data the quantitative data that they have to collect. In addition to those narratives, my observation is just the thought that you shared. I'm like, well, how what if it was funders who are pushing for those platforms that allow the community to be able to share those stories and worked on long side with the nonprofits. But my question is great. What might you share to funders who are in the room, and maybe not in the room, or what has been the conversation that you might have had with funding with funders or other funding platforms around how they can help encourage this sort of strategy to the nonprofits that they're working with Andrew using that themselves to help change the narrative ball, so how we collect the narrative? So this is something that I feel quite strongly about. There is a plague of branding that overtook foundations of few years ago in which the sort of contemporary feeling was that foundations could do more good by branding, their work heavily and extending their credibility to the organizations that they funded and so there was a lot of effort put into getting grantee Graentiz to really talk about their funder and the work the support of that work into leverage their funders brands, and I think that well that was well intentioned as a way to extend their resources. I also think that it created far more problems that it solved because it made it incredibly difficult for organizations, particularly funders to work beyond to take on that transcendent approach to take the public interest communications approach that was much more of a public relations approach, and I think a lot of times in this world because we have to have a brand from the. Fundraising perspective, we end up tripping over those brands a lot it makes it harder to collaborate. And it makes it harder to work with credibility on the issue. That matters most. Thank you very much for your prison. Taishin we put it in a newsletter to one hundred thousand people three or four times a year. Like many would. Chockablock of success stories of where have changed lives and side lives and everything else. And I'm not a communicate a in the sense that you are in terms of being trained, but a luck you'll comment on whether or not these impact from the failure stories where you fight filed to achieve a dream file to cyber law. If he's if any correlation in that was at best just to always, basic simple. I think that if you're telling your community the same story over and over again, they're going to delete your Email. Maybe I I know that if I opened an Email, and it's another, you know, rags to riches story, I'm like, I know how this goes got it. So I think it would be it would be interesting if your organization experimented with different plot structures. There are seven basic plot structures. There's not just the Cinderella story. There are lots of different ones comedy tragedy quest rebirth. Lots of different ones you could play with. We also encourage you to experiment with emotions different emotions do different things research tells us that when we feel sadness if we feel like we're just going to be a drop in the bucket and not really make a difference on the issue or less likely to engage if we feel fear if we can't fight then we're going to run away. So if your stories are leveraging these emotions and not providing really strong calls to action, you might people might disengage. We also. So that you could experiment with us sense of pride people are much more likely to engage and take pro social behavior with if they intimidate feeling pride versus sadness, and we also know that humors are really great way of closing psychological distance. So depending on what you're trying to achieve you might think about what emotions can we select intentionally in order to achieve that go. Where is our audience right now? How are they feeling about this issue? What emotion do they need to feel in order for us to to achieve something? I would also maybe think about what it would be like to publish pieces or put stories in places that are unexpected. When we were first starting out we had the goal to create a world where everyone was a public interest communicator communicator who uses science to inform their work. We built a website, I spent hours and hours and hours writing up research summaries, and I put them out on Twitter and one person read them. It was my colleagues mom. So it didn't work. We were we kept trying to get people to do this thing that we really wanted them to that. We believed was important, and we had we had a really tight niche niche community that wanted this content, but they weren't paying attention. So we spent a lot of time studying them, we did sort of an ethnographic work where we interviewed them. We observe them. We asked them about their information habits, and we realized there reading Stanford social innovation review reading Harvard Business Review, they're reading salon. So we started taking all that science that we had and turning them into pieces and publishing them in places that people already were and framing them in a way that it helps them solve a problem, and it's a touch to their identity, and as a result, those group of people that we really wanted to change how they were communicating we're engaging and consuming this content rates that were unbelievable. And you're all here, you're here. I would also say in storytelling, we have to look for deceptive cadences, which is a term borrowed from music. We have to find that. Unexpected twists the thing that people don't see coming. And I love the color of change newsletter for this. I think they do a fantastic job sharing deceptive cadences, and I think that the martial project. Also does a really great job telling stories that are unexpected said he out of MIT this spring showed that. The lies travel through Twitter six times faster than the truth. But the two emotions most associated with those lies where surprise and disgust. So we need to look for stories that contain those elements of surprise or that invoke emotions that people wanna feel if you want to be sure that people are engaging with your stories. Thank you for your presentation. It was really great this might sound like a silly question. But what of your audience doesn't necessarily read? So if your audience isn't a low income neighborhood. Where people work multiple jobs, and they don't they don't read for a variety of different reasons. How do you communicate those people I think you need to know that their daily habits entertains inside and out think like an anthropologist and know where they're consuming information. Are they listening to podcasts are they talking to each other at parts and go insert yourself into their daily habits. There was this really great study by Dr Sarah Blige who is at Harvard, and she was really interested in lowering the sugar intake of adolescent boys of color in Baltimore. And she did this study where she put up three different science to see what was most affected and one said if you drink a liter of soda it's X amount of sugar if you drink a liter of soda you're going to have to run for an hour. If you drink a leader of soda, you're going to have. To run or walk five miles to burn off the calories, and she found that for those for that particular audience putting up the signs in corner stores where they're making these decisions and and talking about the calories that you'd have to burn in a way that made sense for their lives, which what ended up influencing them was the amount of time you'd have to run. It's not surprising. If I saw that. It'd be like, no, thank you. That was able to reduce their sugary beverage intake for two weeks past when the ran this study because she went to where they were where they were making those decisions, and she put up signs that connected to who they are and helps them think about what that decision would make mean in their own lines. So think about where their balls where they making the decisions around the issue that you're working on. And how can you communicate in a way where it resonates with them and is connected to their everyday lives. There's been some interesting research recently about memes and how memes actually supported the rise of extremism in eastern Europe. But how memes can also be used as a force for good as well by gently mocking negative behaviors. And so I think the important thing is really following the process to figure out what it is you want people to do, but not leaving that lust fourth step, which is where are their eyeballs where is their attention and really deeply empathizing with them and following their pop and walking in their shoes to figure out what? What it is that they might be paying attention to. Thank you for your presentation. I was curious to hear a bit more about how one might map this framework onto risk-assessment so more. Specifically how you recommend one might engage aboard running tension thinking around risk. I think we need more context. What kind of risks? Or is this hypothetical again? Thinking more like sort of building on one of the questions earlier thinking about like an unanticipated challenge that might emerge when pursuing one particular strategy or another about like, I would imagine that most of us here if we were to go to our board and give them like a sign one through five and say like how verse to risk are we everyone would put up a different number. So like, how do we how might you recommend? We approach like getting folks on the same page on how we even feel are talk about risk. I think this questions for you. I'm thinking of Sarah Corbett. Yeah. You explain it by the main, okay? So we're massive fans of woman named Sarah Corbett who is a craft avast. And which we for when we first heard about his where I work we were a bit skeptical, but she was working to she had been invited by an organization to try to change board's perspective on whether they should pay a living wage or not. And so in about this work. She said, of course, you know, what we wanted to do is make Rudolph and throw them at the invasive angry, but we quickly recognized that that wouldn't make a difference. So what they did. Instead. That they looked at each of the board members who they were hoping to get on board with this idea and became obsessive in learning everything they could about what they cared about. And then they went to the store the that the board was the advisory group for and they what handkerchiefs from that store to demonstrate that they were customers, and they created a custom embroidered handkerchief for each of these board members as and wrapped it beautifully as this beautiful gift. And they wrote a note with that said you have an incredible amount of power. You have an influential job and an important one. We are your customers, and we love your employees. And we want you to pay them a living wage, we ask this humbly as your customers who care about the people who work in your stores, and she did this was such love. Of all the board members continue to carry the hacker Chaves they met with them over a series of months and actually did agree to raise the minimum wage that they were paying their employees. And I think what is inspiring to me about that story is that she approached it with incredible love and humility and ask them to be a better version of themselves rather than calling them out for not being the best version of themselves. So I think anytime we're trying to get somebody to do something that they're not doing. We have to show them. How this is going to help them be the person that they hope to be. I told you she sells it way better than I do. Hi, I'm from Los Angeles. And we. Over the last couple of years have done a big public campaign around homelessness and really quick shout out. One of the things that was really has been helpful for us is that there is the storytelling sort of curriculum that folks who live in supportive housing Goto. And then they are there to talk to the board of supervisors or fill in the blank stakeholder. And it's been it's been good. We successfully put together this campaign to put together a quarter sales tax generates about three hundred thirty five million dollars a year as well. As a a sister piece of legislation at the city level to make a thousand new sport of housing units per year. So that was really great. But now we can't say any projects and one of the things that are researchers are telling us is that some of the messaging that we use to get legislation passed is like backfiring because have certain images in their mind. When these support of how? Housing sites are gonna come to their. Their neighborhoods. And so you you mentioned in your definition that it's like this word of transcendence. I love it. If you had any more like thoughts about how to like, we did focus we focus on like, we should not have folks. Leaping on our streets. And we got a short term win. That's really really important. But it feels like it's not getting us over the finish line. So do you have other questions that you should be asking? When you start to develop that strategy. I think the reason that we want your strategic communications plan to live on the back of an envelope. Is that you have to constantly right it, and so the communications plan that you had worked for the system in which we're working, which was policy changed. Now, you're working in a new system, which has culture change. And so you need to answer the questions differently. And so I think it's really important when you go through these questions that you've versed as answering question number one that you really think about which system we're working in who is influential or a decision maker within that system. And what are we going to do to get them on board? So I think that that communication strategy solve that challenge. Now, you need to go through the process again. Hi, my name is Diane I work with the youth ally into and. You might have just answered that question for me. But. We work with young people and. Working with specific issues that. Regarding public school safety community safety and one of the issues that has been coming up, especially I mean nationally as you mentioned with parkland is the issues of law enforcement on school campuses. And what that means to young person for being really truly safe and that interaction when we've had issues with law enforcement and the families have come come to us. We've spoken with young people and they've shared those stories. The immediate responses while that was in one particular instance, that's not how it happens all the time or we'll have administrators rushed to the defense of the law enforcement. We've had police chief say. Well, it's those kids it's those families. So every time we try to bring up a story. It seems to get shot down with rationalization or well, how presenting it well enough and one of the context contextual factors of our community. That is probably important is that we live in a suburban community rural suburban community that means low housing costs. And so we fifty percent of our population at any given time probably has. It has a lot of law enforcement that lives there retired law enforcement and law enforcement that lives there. So it's been a very difficult thing for us to figure out how to craft the narrative or the communication strategy that doesn't say what's those kids? It's not an issue all the time. And so that doesn't get shot down. So I just want to help think through that strategy of the culture shift or the communication strategy. What is it that we need to think about differently and have the young people share differently in order to get that across? Yeah. I would go back to the process and really figure out what it is. It's like you're not completely while you understand us. Use your clear that you we all want there to be zero shootings in school. And we never wanna lose another child. But I think in terms of answering the first question, you've got more work to do to think about what is the system that's in place that you're really trying to change. And what are some of the things that are going to make a difference there? So I would be trust the process there. But it's interesting to me because I'm hearing you describe the psychological phenomenon that we talked about which was when we see people who are not in the in group, we ascribe to them the most extreme perspective. So it seems like maybe some contact theory would be really helpful here as well and really getting people in the same room. Yeah. I also think that it would do us some service to take some time to study the worldviews identities values of your target community that you're trying to influence. We recently worked with organization and they're trying to persuade mothers in Appalachia to think differently about higher education for their daughters. And we used a lot of the academic research around worldview in values and identity to sort of evaluate where do they fall on that continuum? Do you have an individualistic worldview or an egalitarian world? Do what are the underlying values of those five that we mentioned, and we found that they have a mix of individualistic worldview, pull yourself up by your bootstrap, but very strong communal worldview, and they have a fear that if you say higher education that means my daughter's going to think she's better than the community, and she's not gonna come back, and they don't. I want them to leave the community because they have such strong ties. So now that they have that insight about what's happening on unconscious. The gut intuition that shaping their judgments they can think about stories they can tell that override those assumptions, but also resonate with them. So they're connected to how they see the world what they value, but they also assure them that those perceptions and perceptions of harm are unfounded. Thank you. You've been listening to a podcast by Stanford social innovation review, a part of the center on philanthropy and civil society at Stanford University for more podcasts articles and other content about innovating social change. Please. Visit our website at dot org. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. I'm Eric ni. And thank you for listening.

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