(The Process For) How We Change Our Minds: SOTU Alternative Options

We’ve been talking about the “opinion digestive system” and the example of the Long Island immigrant related gang murder from Trump’s SOTU. Now we’re ready to look at alternative paths – think “choose your own adventure.”

Before we dive in, remember this: intent matters. Intent is what you will be judged by, so as you plot your own path forward, carefully consider how others will view your choice of path.

Let’s start with a familiar page from Scott Galloway: you should consciously make an appeal to either the brain (logic), the heart (emotional), or the reproductive organs (make it sexy). Fear, which Trump used, triggers a fight or flight response. Fear acts as an override to the rest of body, so any appeal is a secondary action when fear is involved.

There are certain outcomes that fear can help guide towards, but just remember the company that using scare tactics puts you with. If you are trying to scare someone away from a behavior, you’re channeling the crash videos from driver’s ed. If you are trying to scare someone into a product, you’re channeling your inner shady insurance salesmen. A flight response sends you in search of protection, either internally (I won’t drink and drive), or externally (please protect me insurance company). A fight response not exactly conducive to mind-changing, so we’ll leave that out for now.

Yesterday we viewed Trump’s statement through the eyes of our stereotypical New England soccer mom, who we named Ginger. We broke the story down as: Long Island (has to be a blue-state) high school girls (cultural norms), in a diverse and open neighborhood (values) who allowed immigrants into their schools (attitude) because it was the right thing to do (beliefs), and then were brutally murdered by some of those immigrants (facts).

If our intention is to spur interest for immigration debate and reform, we can craft alternate appeals to each organ. Note: we are ONLY changing how we are framing the cherry-picked facts at the end (we are swapping out “and then were brutally murdered by some of those immigrants”).

Brain (logic):  …and those immigrants make up 16% of the local population while adding 17% of value to the economy through their work. We need immigration reform to make sure this positive contribution is advanced, and understand the success of areas like Long Island. We need to update our current laws to better aim towards reproducing this example nationally.

Heart (emotion): …and immigrants like (pick a person, give us a face) are currently unclear on their path to citizenship. In order to maintain diversity, but also the well-being, safety, and success of our communities, we need to give (name and a face) the access to succeed and feel confident in his future. Our current laws need to be updated for his sake.

Reproductive (sexy): …and immigrants like current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella were able to turn the company around and increase its value by over $400 billion since taking over just a few years ago. We need to update our current laws to retain the best and brightest to enrich America.

The process matters, because it is all about the relation of the facts to the frame. The process helps us line the framing up with Ginger’s worldview. Once we are lined up, we can make our appeal. Plan this out in advance, it’s worth it.

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