Ever noticed how, in hollywood movies, the hero is many a times “framed”? What does framing mean and what is the framing effect?
Framing means the way that an information is presented such that it causes different interpretations in the mind of the listener or the responder.
If i told you that you had a brain tumour, and there was 10% chance of you not surviving, you will suddenly be tensed. (P.S Sorry but i was looking for a shock with the brain tumor example :)
But instead if i told you, you had brain tumour and there was a good 90% chance for your survival, so you need not be worried, you will suddenly feel relieved.
The same information, presented in different manner, will elucidate a different response. And that’s exactly what the framing effect means.
How is the framing effect applicable in Marketing or Advertising?
Look at the below image. It is clear in the way that media can garble an image. Look within the circle, and then outside the circle. So, basically, if the image or your perspective is changed, you will look at things differently. Now apply the same perspective, to McDonalds, KFC or Pizza hut.
Here are some questions for you?
- Should you eat fast food?
- Does fast food make you fat?
- Is KFC McDonalds and Pizza hut fast food?
- Is Subway really that healthy as it advertises?
- If these same brands stopped advertising, will it be easier for you to avoid fast food?
I think, half of the people will answer a resounding YES to the 5th question. This does not mean that these brands are framing you (..it does actually) But overall, the way the message is presented is different.
Subway says that it has mostly vegetables in its sandwiches and will show you a calorie chart. What about the coke you bought with the subway? And what about the sauces, cheese and mayonnaise in it? I can go on with such examples.
But you see the effect right? The same message when presented in different manner will cause different reactions from you.
- If i tell you, the insurance has 100 terms and conditions, will you buy? No!! So i tell you, it saves your future.
- If i tell you, that i am a reconciliation lawyer but i know your marriage will end in divorce, will you still go with me? No!! So i say, i will try my level best to reconcile your marriage. That’s what i am here for.
Is the framing effect used for bad only? No it is not. Take tobacco for example. Do the tobacco ads ever show one individual who smoked his entire life and still remained healthy? They do not, yet such individuals exist.
But the objective of Tobacco ads is to stop people from using Tobacco. So they show the worst images possible to ensure that you get the message and you react accordingly.
The framing effect is used in advertising to get the proper reaction from your consumers. And it has widespread applications.