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The Truth About Truthiness—Part 2

As discussed in that last piece, processing fluency is the phenomenon of a people seeking the simplest explanations to things and accepting those as true. And, so long as that simple explanation does not contradict a core belief, the person believes it.

Now, what does that mean for us as marketers?

  1. In any ad, presentation or press release, focus on one or two points that you want a person to remember.

    For those of us on the agency side, it can be a particular challenge in dealing with clients who are understandably proud of all they have done AND want to include all they have done in their marketing materials. In fact, cramming your message with all available information will, in all likelihood, keep readers from getting even the one or two points you wanted to get across in the first place. Studies have shown that “excess” information is not only forgotten, it sparks the forgetting of other information as well.

  2. If you can help it, don’t try to change minds, try to inform them.

    Changing a mind involves (if you will excuse the terrible grammar) “unlearning” and then “relearning” on the part of the audience. Or, worse yet, it can spark “forward blocking”—a cognitive process whereby a person hears something that contradicts a previously held belief and they shut out any additional information.

    Confirm their closely held beliefs and incorporate your message into something that fits within that. For instance, if you are introducing a new drink that is supposed to compete with Coke, don’t tell Coke drinkers, “Coke is terrible,” tell them “If you like Coke, you are going to love XYZ drink.”

  3. Take your one or two points from point #1, communicate them in a way that fits point #2 and then REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT.

    As you well know, frequency enhances the ability to recall the message. Frequency also enhances ease of retrieval of the information, which makes it more believable.

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