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CSR: Aspirational Communication for Social Change

Much of a country’s progress is held back because of ignorance about various issues among the populations. In order to bring a real change, there is a need for changing the mindsets of people. This needs to be done by making people aware of alternative options, educating them on the benefits of adopting them and getting them to see the flaws or disadvantages of sticking to their old traditional way.
Legal laws can only ban a practice on paper. Unless people, at least a solid majority of them, do not accept the intent behind the law, it is impossible to bring about a real change in the society. Aspirational Communication has the potential to secure this solid majority on a contentious topic by adopting a few distinct methods, according to an article by Doug Hattaway of Hattaway Communications published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Cashing in on Ambivalence Nature of People

Supporting or opposing any cause are few people who have an extreme opinion. They are so stuck on their beliefs, that they would not dare change, even if the entire world stands against them. They are simply unwilling to compromise on their opinions. More often than not, these people represent only a small percentage of the crowd. Majority of them are in a state of mind that is ambivalent. They are the people who say, they are in ‘two minds’ or have ‘conflicting feelings’. These are the people who if guided properly would be willing to change their opinions. It is these people that need to be targeted by communication strategists. Because their ultimate goal is peace. And if a communication campaign is able to convince that their change in opinion may lead to peace, they are most likely to do it.

Understanding the anxieties of people

Anxiety is often the cause of the inner conflicts and turmoil among the people, with regards to a controversial issue. According to the American Psychiatric Association, anxiety is defined as an uncomfortable feeling in response to an anticipated threat. It is about something that might happen in the future that makes you feel insecure. In the brain, anxiety can disrupt attention, concentration, and memory, prompting people to shut down, rather than open up to new ideas. Thus, it is important to address the anxieties people might have upfront about issues such as homosexuality or normalising female menstruation so that they do not close up to updating their thought process.

Connecting the cause to aspirations of people

One of the things that have worked in favour of homosexual couples all over the world is the narrative of the couple vs the world. This is what people want for themselves in their other halves. This state helps awaken the feeling of pride, respect and fondness among people for these couples.
Communicating any social message by connecting people’s aspirations to the cause, makes the cause not only acceptable quickly but also desirable in society.
In order to reach our full potential as a human and establish a tolerant and peaceful society, it is important for people to look beyond the political and cultural divide. Social movements work as a catalyst to bring about this change of hearts and minds among people. Communication is the only way this could be done. Which is why it is important to use this tool to spread goodness and peace in the world.
In order to conduct effective communication for a social cause, it is important to enable people to see the cause as an opportunity to live up to their aspirations. For this, a campaign should use stories that people can relate to and offer information and ideas that would allow the audience to think about the cause in their own mental space. This way, when they reach a conclusion, they do not feel as if they have been brainwashed into believing in the cause. Rather, they accept it as their own thought process which actually helps them in holding a firm belief for the cause.