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 we are completely rational, our minds are influenced by many factors.
Framing in Communication
To begin, we all understand how we present information has an impact on how others understand us. Using data in an authoritative manner helps others believe that we are experts. Presenting odds in either a negative or positive first order frames 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. For instance, a Wall Street statistician, Salil Mehta, released details of the math behind the lottery. 2% of regular players break even. Meaning the amount they win only matches the amount they lose. The other 98% of regular players comprise of people who lose over and over. The amount regular players lose is at least $1,000 a year! (1) Now, take the $1,000 spent on lottery tickets and deposit it in a savings account. Do that for 5 years at 9% monthly compounded interest and you’ll have over $1,000 in interest. Now that is winning.
Framing through Brand Image
Now, in 1892 Coca Cola was invented in Georgia. Six years later Pepsi Cola was created in North Carolina. Now, six years may not seem like a big difference but by 1975, Coke had lead the cola market for decades. Pepsi started a campaign called the Pepsi Challenge. They asked people to sample Coke and Pepsi in a blind taste test. The campaign results showed that more people preferred the taste of Pepsi. So then, Coke challenged the finding because their market research contradicted the results of the Pepsi Challenge. However, there was a difference. Pepsi’s Challenge used a blind taste test. Neither sample indicated which was Coke or Pepsi. Similarly, Coke’s research showed consumer preferences when the drinks presented 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. Simply, tasting a sample activated a part of the brain that involved taste.
However, revealing the brand before tasting the sample activated an additional area of the brain. An area linked to associations, emotions, and working memory. In other words, the emotional and cultural associations connected the preferences of consumers. Besides quality, brand is what influences preferences; thus, the brand with the most connections to consumers wins. To conclude, do you see how the frame makes the picture?
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- 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.] //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.] //www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-10/cp-cvp101204.php.