Stealth comms and cultural awareness key to reaching climate change ‘persuadables’

Stealth communications, cultural awareness of progressive and traditional values and not being urban centric are crucial for inspiring climate action among ‘persuadables’, according to ACT Climate Labs research.

The term refers to 69% of the UK population who are neither climate deniers nor climate activists, and can be broadly split into three key audiences – working-class audiences, multi-ethnic, and rural or semi-rural.

The research highlighted that ‘persuadables’ are influenced by a cultural divide that sees them view climate campaigns as about ‘others’ and ‘not people like me’, which discourages some from getting involved in climate action.

When seeking to reach multi-ethnic audiences campaigners and marketers are advised to reflect the mix of traditional and progressive social context people might inhabit, and understand the importance of appealing to people with influence in those communities.

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It also highlights a need to acknowledge ‘tall poppy’ syndrome (whereby there can be a sense of mistrust and betrayal around those who act in ways that are viewed as seeking to stand out above others), when aiming to reach white working class communities and a need to respect the community as a whole rather than dividing it into groups.

In addition, when seeking to reach rural and semi-rural inhabitants communications professionals should be aware of ensuring that they are not just communicating in a way that is relevant for those in cities, whilst taking care in communications that touch on provisions of services such as car vs bike.

“The challenge of communicating climate change right now has nothing to do with getting climate right but getting the cultural context right,” said ACT Climate Labs report author and strategy director Florencia Lujani.

“We want to supercharge the effectiveness of climate communications and implement new ways of getting ahead of misinformation to neutralise and eradicate the power of misinformation.”


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