When people genuinely care about an issue, they are more motivated to foster change.
There’s a true art to motivating people for positive change. You need to convey the severity and urgency of the challenge you’re taking on, without making your message too depressing, too morose or too high of a mountain to climb. That can be a tricky balancing act when it comes to sustainability, which often deals with serious issues that can seem overwhelming.
The challenges are familiar to anyone who’s ever tried to create cause-focused marketing. It’s easy to become fixated on the negative aspects of the problem you’re trying to fix, especially if it’s something you feel passionate about yourself. While these issues are real and have the potential to motivate your audience, too much doom and gloom can also discourage the support you need to achieve your goals. People want to care and to feel like their actions make a difference, but nobody wants to buy fear.
The best sustainable storytelling encourages people to think, “This is important and achievable; I need to not only care about it, but personally do something about it.” Successful sustainable storytelling prompts the desired behavior—without over-reaching on what can be accomplished by yourself. Ideally, you’re drawing more hearts and minds to the cause. You can’t whitewash (or greenwash) reality, but you’ll still need to be positive enough to prevent your audience from forming the impression that your challenge is such a big problem there’s nothing they can do to change the outcome.
Draw on the achievable goals we discussed last week as you build your message. That will enable you to position your message in an optimistic way by highlighting how your audience can make positive change a reality.
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