Impact Strategy

You Can’t Change Minds Without Winning Hearts

Push resistance

Will pushing harder do the trick?

As a kid, I hated eating meat. The harder my mother pushed me to eat, the harder I resisted. As a result, I stayed seating at the table for two to three hours after everyone was gone. I couldn’t stand up until I finished my plate. Luckily, I had a German Sheppard that will save me from the pain of chewing one more bite.

The assumption is that pushing harder will do the trick. However, the approach often backfires. When someone pushes, the other person pushes back. They push back to keep doing what they are doing, in my case, avoiding chewing meat.

My mom’s objective to influence, convince, and reason with me had a good intention – eat your food to stay healthy. However, it mostly focused on her desired outcome, finish your food. She was so focused on her own goals that she pushes and pushed, forgetting to understand why I was not eating.

Seek to understand to create a meaningful connection

Inciting action and changing minds starts with empathy. Understand the fears, uncertainties, and desires are (FUD) of the people you want to serve. In other words, learn what drives them and what is blocking them. The insight will help lower the barriers to action and build trust.

79% of consumers said that brands have to demonstrate that ‘they understand and care about me’ before they are going to consider purchasing.’ – Wunderman study

I didn’t eat meat because it was difficult to cut and chew. It was a fight between me and the stake. Besides, I was a slow eater, and that made me feel worst. All my family had to wait for me to end eating before they could get up. That usually took about fifteen minutes, except the days we had a stake in the menu. Those days, they will get up ten minutes after they finished. I stayed until my plate was empty.

It wasn’t until she understood this that she changed how the steak was cooked and served. Maybe that’s why I love “Lomo Saltado” so much. After the change, I enjoyed dinner and finished with the rest of the family, which made me feel great.

Help them advance where they want to go.

People like to be in control of their choice and actions. Telling people what to do does not help. On the contrary, it falls with resistance and deaf ears. That’s what happened when we worked on the Zika campaign in Puerto Rico.

The Zika virus was an emergency campaign and an immediate threat to unborn babies. We hit the ground running, telling pregnant mothers and their partners what to do. However, we had not considered that Puerto Rico is an island, that living with mosquitos is part of everyday life, and mosquito-borne disease was nothing new to them. Our audience knew what to do. They have heard the same preventing behavior campaign since they were kids. They received the message with hesitation and anger. Thus, they were tuning out.

Moms and pregnant women wanted a healthy baby. However, they were overwhelmed with all that was going in Puerto Rico and how that affected their lives. What moms need to hear was a reminder to do these activities and not feel like a “bad” person for not doing them. We learned that two out of the four preventing behaviors were not doable.

With these insights, we designed social and traditional media stories that reminded them about two preventing behaviors they can do each day, like brushing your teeth each morning. We placed ads on venues that will trigger reminders such as on top of mosquito repellent shelves, cinema, and restaurant bathrooms. Results were outstanding, intent to “Use Insect Repellant” increased 39%, and repellent sales increased 15% from the previous year.

You can’t change minds without winning hearts. Winning hearts requires listening, building trust, and creating a meaningful connection. Understand the people you want to serve, gain insight that helps lower the barriers to action and, helps them get where they want to go.