Do the Right Thing -- Part 2 Review


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Presentation of and discussion guide for James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore's book "Do the Right Thing: PR Tips for a Skeptical Public," used in PR Research & Strategies class at Florida A&M University.

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  • 1. 7 Big Tobacco CEOs denied link between nicotine and cancer before Rep. Henry Waxman’s committee – 1994. Even got the ACLU on its side.
  • 1. 7 Big Tobacco CEOs denied link between nicotine and cancer before Rep. Henry Waxman’s committee – 1994. Even got the ACLU on its side.
  • Message – About facts, logic, opinions Meaning – Touches on emotions; includes justifications & explanations; plays on subconscious Myth – Most powerful; almost always unconscious
  • Message – About facts, logic, opinions Meaning – Touches on emotions; includes justifications & explanations; plays on subconscious Myth – Most powerful; almost always unconscious
  • In early 1990s, Ray Anderson, chairman of Interface, Inc., oversaw the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial and residential modular carpet and a leading producer of commercial broadloom and commercial fabrics. Vague sense something is not right: criticism from employees and customers that he didn’t “get it” about sustainability. Triggering event: In 1994, two Interface managers set up a task force to assess company’s environmental practices. Led to crisis for CEO. Epiphany: “I got it. I was a plunderer of the earth and that was not the legacy one wants to leave behind. I wept.” Reconciliation: Read employees the riot act and challenged them to lead our company to sustainability. Plan called “Mission Zero” to be environmentally neutral by 2020. Transformation: Reduced energy consumption by almost half since 1995 and SAVED MONEY. Project became popular with customers and investors. Saved more than $289 million by eliminating waste alone. Return & responsibility: On the speaking circuit.
  • Do the Right Thing -- Part 2 Review

    1. 1. Overview of Book Written by James Hoggan with Richard D. Littlemore Dr. LaRae M. Donnellan, APR, CPRC Professor of Public Relations Florida A&M University
    2. 2. Hoggan’s Argument <ul><li>“ [T]he public argument about climate change [has] very little to do with science and a great deal to do with public relations” (p. 43). </li></ul><ul><li>Climate scientists agree. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Debate” promoted in some media. </li></ul>(From
    3. 3. Remember the “Tobacco Debate”? <ul><li>Tobacco Industry Strategies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reposition debate: Not about health but about free choice. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deny wrongdoing: The link between tobacco and cancer was never “proved” beyond reasonable doubt. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Excuse or minimize the problem: Lots of things cause cancer. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Astroturfing: Mobilize smokers to “fight for their rights.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attack the character of your opponent: Anyone who tried to educate or legislate against tobacco was simply trying to create a “nanny state.” </li></ul></ul>(
    4. 4. Climate Change “Debate” <ul><li>Industry Strategies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reposition debate: Not about climate change but about “hurting moms and dads … grandmas and grandpas … senior citizens … miners, loggers, truckers, farmers … families struggling to survive.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deny wrongdoing: The link between human activity and climate change has never been “proved” beyond reasonable doubt. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Excuse or minimize the problem: Climate change is cyclical. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Astroturfing: Faking letter-writing “campaigns” to oppose Waxman-Markey Clean Energy Bill in 2009 (Bonner & Associates PR firm) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attack the character of your opponent: Al Gore is wrong. </li></ul></ul>(
    5. 5. Have Deniers Been Successful? (From
    6. 6. Partisan Divisions: Pew Polls <ul><ul><li>College-educated partisans: Are humans responsible (2008 Pew poll)? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Democrats: 75% yes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Republicans: 19% yes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why a difference? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How they consume media & which media they consume. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Democrats: Better informed about the science. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Republicans: Better informed about the controversy. </li></ul></ul>Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 4, 2009, among 1,500 adults reached on cell phones and landlines.
    7. 7. Power of Storytelling <ul><li>Wachtman: “Good storytelling is the perfect antidote to information overload” (p. 51). </li></ul><ul><li>Jung: Importance of archetypes – universal unconscious, story templates (e.g., the child, the “shadow”) </li></ul><ul><li>Rapaille: Everything has a code. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reptilian brain (instinct-driven) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limbic brain (emotional) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Logical brain (analysis) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why do stories fail … or succeed? </li></ul>(
    8. 8. Sustainability Case Study <ul><li>What does “sustainability” mean to you? </li></ul><ul><li>What does “working toward our long-term well-being” mean to you? </li></ul><ul><li>What is your most memorable experience associated with the concept of sustainability? </li></ul>
    9. 9. Sustainability Case Study <ul><li>Ed Wachtman: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Message </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meaning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Myth </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dominant themes from his research: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Meta-theme: Emphasize hope </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Core themes: Community, interconnectivity, transformation, reconciliation </li></ul></ul>(
    10. 10. Ray Anderson Case Study <ul><li>Vague sense something is not right </li></ul><ul><li>Triggering event (hero gets wakeup call) </li></ul><ul><li>Epiphany (hero comprehends challenge) </li></ul><ul><li>Reconciliation (what is broken must be fixed) </li></ul><ul><li>Transformation (change behavior) </li></ul><ul><li>Return & responsibility (act as force for change) </li></ul>(
    11. 11. Understanding Framing <ul><li>“ When the facts don’t fit the frame, it’s the facts we reject, not the frame.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Susan Nall Bales, FrameWorks Institute) </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits vs. shortfalls </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tax cuts, tax relief </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CDC: It’s not true that “the side effects are worse than the flu.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Brain’s “subconscious rule of thumb is that easily recalled things are true” (p. 70). </li></ul><ul><li>Get your message out first to frame the issue. </li></ul>(
    12. 12. Three Levels of Public Discussion <ul><li>Big ideas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Freedom, justice, community, stewardship, responsibility </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Categories </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The environment, child care, health care </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Specific issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clear-cut logging, child tax credit, funding for the EPA or Planned Parenthood </li></ul></ul>(
    13. 13. Reframing Climate Change <ul><li>FrameWorks’ findings: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Canadians were slightly less confused than Americans about how to address climate change. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No further ahead on taking action. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Talked about impacts, not causes. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unable to identify humans as causing problem. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thought problem was with ozone hole. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ When people don’t know how things work, it’s easy to spin them … ” (p. 74). </li></ul>(
    14. 14. Reframing Case Study <ul><li>Simplified explanation for climate change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Heat lock” or “blanket” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Focus groups & national surveys to test messages & messengers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Scientists OK to speak about potential negative effects of climate change. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmentalists OK to talk about solutions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmentalists NOT OK to talk about potential negative effects. </li></ul></ul>( Dr. James E. Hansen, NASA Scientist
    15. 15. Importance of Listening <ul><li>What does Hoggan say the chances are of changing people’s minds as a result of “debates” on TV? </li></ul><ul><li>System tends to solidify opposing positions. </li></ul>(
    16. 16. Yankelovich’s Dialogue Rules <ul><li>Purpose is to understand. </li></ul><ul><li>All participants should speak for themselves. </li></ul><ul><li>Treat everyone as an equal. </li></ul><ul><li>Be open & listen when you disagree. </li></ul><ul><li>Search for assumptions. </li></ul><ul><li>Listen with empathy; acknowledge what others say. </li></ul><ul><li>Look for common ground. </li></ul><ul><li>Express disagreements in terms of ideas, not personality or motives. </li></ul><ul><li>Separate dialogue from decision-making. </li></ul><ul><li>Respect all points of view. </li></ul>(
    17. 17. Dialogue Among Big Groups <ul><li>Polling & focus groups have weaknesses. </li></ul><ul><li>ChoiceDialogues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Carefully prepared workbook with lots of information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Values-based choices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Long time frame for participants to work through issues together. </li></ul></ul>(
    18. 18. ChoiceDialogues & Sustainability <ul><li>People come to important judgments about complex issues in three steps: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Opinion Formation – Begin to get sense of urgency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Working Through – Look seriously at choices & trade-offs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resolution – Set out & act on optimal choices </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2005-2006 research findings from four groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Issue wasn’t lack of understanding of sustainability. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participants supported sustainability initiatives & making changes in their own lives IF … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Government, industry and other people make changes, too. </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. 10 Communication Principles <ul><li>80% performance; 20% telling about it </li></ul><ul><li>Performance exceeds expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Core values explicit; framed in ethical terms </li></ul><ul><li>Privileged institutions must do more </li></ul><ul><li>Silence/denial = bad faith </li></ul><ul><li>No benefit of the doubt </li></ul><ul><li>Plain talk essential </li></ul><ul><li>Honesty/integrity = valued by public </li></ul><ul><li>Noble goals but deeply flawed execution = hypocrisy </li></ul><ul><li>Deliver results </li></ul>(
    20. 20. Cialdini’s 6 Persuasion Principles <ul><li>Flattery will get you everything. </li></ul><ul><li>Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. </li></ul><ul><li>All the neighbors are doing it. </li></ul><ul><li>Can I get that in writing? </li></ul><ul><li>Trust me; I’m an expert. </li></ul><ul><li>On sale – while they last. </li></ul><ul><li>Hoggan’s 7 th : Act responsibly or always tell the truth. </li></ul>