Thursday, November 01, 2012

don't be a menace

This post on Finalmile cought my eye this morning.

In 'Don't be a cheater' they pose a question that asks; can our sense of identity and therefore behaviour be affected just by the simple construct of a question or statement?

This is described as noun vs. verb framing.

In an experiment participant groups were given different sets of instructions prior to the test - 'don't cheat' vs 'don't be a cheater'

'When ‘Please don’t cheat’ (verb form) was used in the instructions, participants in a group resorted to the same amount of cheating as a baseline group, whereas using ‘Please don’t be a cheater’ (noun) eliminated cheating completely.'

'Why should this happen? People can downplay instances of cheating and convince themselves that these occasional lapses do not make one a dishonest person – this is harder to do with the use of a self-relevant noun that clearly states the implications of cheating.'

If you work with nfp organisations on fundraising, for example it's worth considering experimenting with the subtle difference between 'please support/donate/help' or whatever and 'please be a supporter'.

Indeen it's worth A/B testing noun vs. verb framing with any call to action for that matter.

'Find out more' vs 'be one of the first to know' or even 'Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood'.

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