Learn more: Read about disorientation and new experiences in The Disrupted Mind Part 1: Scientific Insights.
More means normal
Whatever the story is, find a way to emphasise that more and more people are adopting this new mindset. This creates the impression that a new normal is emerging, even if an old mindset still prevails with some people. It also allows people to choose between what are seemingly two ‘normals’ instead of considering one as “different’. An example would be to say “more and more people have started working from home during the pandemic and are convinced it has led to an increase in their quality of life..”
Choose the right messenger
When orienting oneself we look for people similar to us. If you want to convince employers that a mindset has become the new normal, use other employers as your reference points instead of activists or even their own employees. For example, you could say that “more and more leading companies see remote working as the future of work.” To make this belief relevant beyond the crisis, you could add “with or without the pandemic.”
Make it realistic
There are limits: normative messaging does not work if your message does not match people’s experiences. For example, if an employee really didn’t enjoy working from home and hasn’t met any other people who want to work from home, nor do they see their employer showing any interest, it will be difficult to convince them that this is now normal. It isn’t just about telling the right stories but also creating the right experiences that prove your stories right. (see recommendation 5).
Make old norms, narratives and behaviours seem ridiculous
Humans are social creatures and need to feel they belong and are exactly like all the others. Using humour and irony, coupled with dynamic norms can help you to plausibly make believe that nobody considers the old “normal” normal anymore.
Dynamic Normative Messaging Tool
The Mindworks guide to help you create dynamic normative messages that can emphasize changing social norms.Learn more →
The power of radio soap opera in post-genocidal Rwanda
After the genocide in Rwanda a Dutch NGO called Radio La Benevolencija created a radio soap opera called Musekeweya (new dawn) which aimed to promote intergroup tolerance and strengthen the population’s resistance to incite and perpetuate violence. The series began in 2004 and aired twice a week on Radio Rwanda and Radio Izuba for many years becoming one of the country’s most popular soap operas. A survey found that 76% of Rwandans tuned in to Musekeweya every week. Later studies found it to be highly effective in changing the behaviours and social norms of conflicting groups, while individual beliefs and prejudice didn’t change. This is a good example of how creative applications of dynamic norm messaging through the right channels can create stories for larger social change.Learn more ->
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