Framing matters to everyone. Now I know I used an image of a picture frame but the picture I am talking about is more abstract. So is the frame. John Donne penned the famous line, “No man is an island entire of itself” This is especially true in the realm of the mind. No idea, no thought, no decision is made in a vacuum. Even when we believe that we are being completely rational, our minds are influenced by many factors can leave us surprised.
Framing in Communication
We all understand that how we present information can have an impact on how others understand us. Using data in an authoritative manner can help others believe that we are experts. Presenting odds in either a negative first or positive first order can frame the information in either a negative or positive manner. Consider the lottery. The lottery will give you odds of winning. Yet if we look at percentages, we find something else. A Wall Street statistician, Salil Mehta, released details of the math behind the lottery. 2% of regular players break even. That means that the amount they win only matches the amount they lose. The other 98% of regular players are mostly comprised of people who lose over and over. The amount regular players lose is at least $1,000 a year! (1) If that same player would take the $1,000 they would spend on lottery tickets each year for 5 years and deposit it in a savings account with an interest rate of 9% compounded monthly. The $5,000 total deposits over those 5 years would result in over $1,000 interest. At the end of the 5th year, the interest accrued for that year alone would be over $500. Now that is winning.
Framing through Brand Image
In 1892 Coca Cola was invented in Georgia. Six years later Pepsi Cola was created in North Carolina. That six years may not seem like a big difference but by 1975, Coke had been leading the cola market for decades. Pepsi started a campaign called the Pepsi Challenge. They asked people to sample Coke and Pepsi but in a blind taste test. The campaign indicated that more people preferred the taste of Pepsi. Coke challenged the finding because their market research contradicted the results of the Pepsi Challenge. There was a difference though. Pepsi’s Challenge used a blind taste test. Neither sample was marked to indicate which was Coke or Pepsi. Coke’s research was based on consumer preferences when the drinks showed their branding.
In 2004, a team of neuroscientists published the results of a study regarding Coke versus Pepsi. They used a functional MRI machine to study the activity of participants’ brains as they tasted samples of Pepsi and Coke. During the study, they gave blind taste samples and branded samples. Whenever a sample was tasted it activated a part of the brain that involved taste. However, when the brand was revealed before the sample was tasted it activated an additional area of the brain. That area is linked to associations, emotions, and working memory. In other words, the emotional and cultural associations connected to a brand influence the preferences of consumers.
The brand with the most numerous and positive connections to consumers wins. So if you want help finding the frame that best helps your brand or brand message, call us to schedule a consultation.
- Swanson, Ana. The sneaky math that made the lottery more alluring — and harder to win. The Washington Post. [Online] August 30, 2016. [Cited: April 11, 2019.] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/08/30/the-sneaky-math-that-made-the-lottery-more-alluring-and-harder-to-win/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.424b6c4cf894.
- Press, Cell. Coke versus Pepsi: It’s all in the head. EurekAlert! [Online] October 13, 2004. [Cited: April 11, 2019.] https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-10/cp-cvp101204.php.