Continuing our thread of conversations on climate fight messaging, I would like to spend some time discussing possible targeting strategies. While it is true that global warming is a problem that concerns us all, in the interest of efficiency, it makes senses to go after those groups of people who are most likely to be persuaded positively. If we were to use a traditional ‘shades of green‘ segmentation model, the obvious choice would be to go after people who are on the fence, not the minority of green enthusiasts – people like you and me -, not the uninterested, but the people who see global warming as an issue, and who need to be pushed into action. While being the correct target, it leaves us with not enough to go by in terms of executing a campaign.
A more interesting strategy, in my opinion, uses a combination of psychographic and demographic descriptors to identify high potential targets. I got the idea of considering demographic segments, from Mary Hunt. Mary has chosen to focus her efforts on women, the ones in the household who are responsible for 80% of the buying. Makes sense doesn’t it, when like Mary, you are trying to educate the public about sustainable standards for high ticket, high environmental impact items such as flooring and furniture? Of equal importance is the need to communicate with people on an emotional level. The global warming message has made it into people’s heads, but has failed to grab them by the heart. Appeals to morality and civic environmental duty can only go so far. People have to feel moved into action.
Environmentalists have to stop talking to themselves, and need to go out to segments of the population outside of the green landscape, groups of people who because of their natural interests or life situations, are most likely to emotionally connect emotionally with the climate fight. Based on months of exploration and conversations with readers, these are the clusters that seem to make the most sense:
- Mothers are programmed to take care of their young ones. Any threat to their children’s health and survival triggers powerful responses. ‘You mean my children may not be able to enjoy clean air, and the good life we have taken for granted so far?’
- Believers‘s morality is tied into their faith. If they perceive global warming as the result of man’s sinful handling of God’s creation, it becomes their responsibility to redeem themselves through restorative actions. ‘God has given us this Earth; it is for us to protect.’
- Business leaders care about the bottom line, a lot. Once they realize the path to sustainability is also good for their bottom line, they can become some of the fiercest warriors of the climate fight. ‘Green is good.’
- Nature enthusiasts have a deep connection with nature. Birders cringe when they read about land-bird species at the risk of becoming extinct, as a result of global warming. ‘Do you know how beautiful birds are? We can’t let this happen.’
- The overweight crowd are putting their lives on the line every day with their unhealthy lifestyles. They are getting the message to: eat less, and less processed foods and less meat, drive less, watch less TV, walk or bike more. ‘If not for the planet, maybe for themselves?’
So many ways to slice the pie . . . Which of these people would you be most willing to bet on?