Finding Common Ground: Old and New Supporters

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Finding Common Ground: Old and New Supporters

How can you simultaneously meet the needs of both long-term and fledgling supporters in ways that don’t patronize or confuse anyone? Let’s apply common ground messaging theory to answer this question.

  • Triggers: Long-term supporters value long-term relationships; repetitively explaining things that they already know will break trust. New supporters will feel alienated if they aren’t offered context in order to follow campaign updates.
  • Common ground: Both groups share a desire to end animal suffering. Both groups support the organization’s mission. Both groups want to feel ‘in the know’.
  • What to avoid: Explanations that sound like explanations will be off-putting to highly engaged supporters. References to issues without context will be confusing for new supporters.
  • What to highlight: ‘Incidental’ explanations will serve to inform new supporters and double as ‘head nods’ to long-term supporters with higher levels of awareness. Both groups will be more motivated to act if they are casually reminded about why issues are important.

Don’t say:

“Help us hold live exporters to account!”

“CruelCompany™ thinks sow stalls are okay. Prove them wrong!”

Do say:

“Help us hold live exporters to account for letting animals ‘cook’ to death.”

“CruelCompany™ thinks its okay to confine pigs in crates so small they can’t even turn around. Prove them wrong!”

More examples

Here are some other scenarios where common ground theory can help make messaging more impactful and inclusive:

From: Find common ground

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Karen Nilsen

Hi there! I’m Karen. I’m on a mission to reach my former self. Had I known 10 years ago what I know today, I could have achieved more good, made fewer mistakes, and had more weekends. Every time we share what works, we win faster. Let’s create digital experiences that move people — that grow our base and fuel our movements. Are you with me? Please share this with someone you know who wants to up their digital game!

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