Framing and Developing Messages

14 09 2010

Chapter 4 of Strategic Communication for Nonprofits discussing the importance of framing messages.  Frames are structures that people use to view the world and make sense out of it.  These frames are based on values and assumptions that they hold within themselves.  Therefore, people view messages through particular frames, causing each person in the audience to view the message differently.

As PR practitioners, it is important that they capitalize on an audience’s frame of reference and use it to their advantage with crafting a PR message.  You should identify the core values that may attract people to your cause.  For example, our client this semester is Safe Harbor.  When crafting a message about Safe Harbor I want to make sure that I address values that would draw people to its cause.  I would pick the main idea that most audience members would relate to or would view favorably.

Another important aspect when framing and developing messages is deciding who will present the message.  Will it be a family member, friend, political official, local church minister, etc.?  Many people call this “putting a face on the story.”  In class we used the organ donor campaign as an example.  Instead of giving facts of how many people are saved each year by organ transplants, the video chooses to tell the story of Steve.  This makes the message far more compelling to viewers.  It takes a message and makes it stronger by making it personal.  I challenge you to look at the video Steve’s Organ Donation and tell me what you think about the delivery of this message.