Five lessons to guide more effective biodiversity conservation message framing

Date: 11, Feb, 2020
Author(s):   Kusmanoff, A. M., Fidler, F., Gordon, A., Garrard, G. E., Bekessy, S. A.
Publisher: Conservation Biology

Communication and advocacy approaches that influence attitudes and behaviors are key to addressing conservation problems, and the way an issue is framed can affect how people view, judge, and respond to an issue. Responses to conservation interventions can also be influenced by subtle wording changes in statements that may appeal to different values, activate social norms, influence a person's affect or mood, or trigger certain biases, each of which can differently influence the resulting engagement, attitudes, and behavior. We contend that by strategically considering how conservation communications are framed, they can be made more effective with little or no additional cost. Key framing considerations include, emphasizing things that matter to the audience, evoking helpful social norms, reducing psychological distance, leveraging useful biases, and, where practicable, testing messages. These lessons will help communicators think strategically about how to frame messages for greater effect.