Despite the highly polarized state of American culture, ROKK Soutions managing director Lindsay Singleton says she believes that brands can—and should—take a bipartisan approach in their communications around public affairs.
"If you really look back historically, most of the progress that has been made in our country has been done by a bipartisan coalition," Singleton says. "We work towards making those coalitions a reality again through developing messaging that brings people together."
To reach "as many individuals on either side of the aisle as we can" takes "crafting highly tailored messages on behalf of brands and organizations that will reach both sides of the aisle and will resonate."
Finding out just how to do that has been the goal of an exetensive amount of research that ROKK Solutions has carried out through its social impact practice, which was launched in the fall of 2020.
Last summer, after the agency worked with Penn State University's Smeal College of Business to study over 1,200 registered voters from across the political spectrum, Singleton tells Simon that she was very surprised by some of the results. For example, "we were very excited to see just how much support there was across the board for issues related to environment, climate, social and governance."
But it takes different strategies to tap into that support from different audiences. "Whereas Democrats really seem to respond more favorably to language that was highly emotional, Republicans responded more favorably to language that was more concrete and based on fact and data points and numbers."
And while finding "a happy medium" by combining "compelling storytelling with the data that helps to prove and showcase exactly what you're talking about," is important, it's still necessary to tailor each individiual message to its target audience.
"Knowing exactly who your who your audience is," remains key, Singleton says. She tells Simon that "if we're pitching it to FOX, we might frame it slightly differently in terms of the kind of activities and how we're talking about them. We might not call it climate change. We might call it energy waste and water management, which from our research we found truly resonates with with people on the right."
However, the goal of getting the message outweighs any differences between audiences. "Republicans and Democrats alike both overwhelmingly put climate change as one of their top five issues. So we know that they care, but it is about tailoring those messages and those pictures to who your audience is."
Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]