Sunday, October 24, 2010


According to "The Psychology of Climate Change Communication" by the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, framing is the setting of an issue within an appropriate context to achieve a desired interpretation or perspective. James Hoggan describes framing as mental shortcuts that helps us manage information and understand our too-complicated world in his book "Do The Right Thing."

I combined both of those definitions and interpreted framing as mental shortcuts that help achieve a perspective of our complicated world. When trying to persuade the public on any issue, public relations practitioners have to take into consideration that everyone has preconceived notions about everything. Putting the issue in a context that relates to the target audience will help them not only understand the issue but also retain and possibly act accordingly.

Ralph Benmergui,
veteran broadcaster and strategic communications adviser to the Green Party of Canada, states in the video below that one should frame a message around someone's core values. Watch this video and see how he frames a sustainability message.

Framing is important because it helps capture the audience's attention, and it explains what the issue is and how it relates to the public. Bringing the message close to home, or making it relatable, is the best way to make the message stick and creates behavioral changes. For example, instead of just telling your target audience that the climate crisis is real and humans are responsible, explain to them how their community is being affected by climate change.

CRED states that by framing climate change as a local issue it increases the audience's sense of connection and helps them better understand the climate crisis. CRED describes the benefits of framing as:
1. Frames organize central ideas on an issue.
2. Frames help communicate why an issue might be a problem, who or what might be responsible, and in some cases, what should be done.
3. Frames can help condense a message into useful communication "short cuts" and symbols: catch-phrases, slogans, historical references, cartoons, and images.

1 comment:

  1. I agree framing is a mental shortcut. You have to make a message relate to your audience. You are not just sending a message, but you are trying to evoke behavioral change. Framing can be used as deceit but is important that all practitioners do the right thing. If you don't you lose your credibility.