One thing is clear in the human services field: our messages are not resonating with the public and policy makers. Too often our messages get muddled or co-opted, and rather than being able to promote the success within the field, we are constantly on the defense. Regardless of the facts, studies, and research that show how investing in the quality of life for all of our families pays for itself in dividends, the news stories that resonate most with the public are the myths of the “welfare queen,” or the story of the young man on food stamps eating lobster and driving an Escalade.
In response to this problem, National Human Services Assembly commissioned a study by the FrameWorks Institute to reveal the “core story” of the human services sector. The FrameWorks Institute analyzes the “Frames” through which we think. Framing is a breakthrough theory that draws on interdisciplinary research from neuroscience, anthropology, and communications.
Ultimately, the words we use have inherent meaning to the listener, and when we use those words, regardless of the overall message we are conveying, the associations the listener has with those words are brought to mind. After studying the frames that exist in the common messages our field uses, we then can “map the gaps” and identify where these values, metaphors, and narratives fail to resonate with the public.
Check out the video of our webinar, Framing 101, to learn more about Framing, and how it is used to create more powerful messages! Our “Mapping the Gap” Webinar will be released next week!