Can persuasion theory help assess a deliberative communication approach?




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Heriot-Watt University and the Academy of Marketing.



Peer reviewed



Energy efficiency is increasingly being seen as a method to help the UK and the EU meet obligations to reduce carbon emissions. Some of the changes needed to the way we consume energy will be achieved through regulation. Others will require us to choose to behave differently. One way of engaging the consumers of energy in buildings is the provision of information as part of a marketing campaign. What makes information capable of encouraging behaviour change is contextual, according to the communication situation and the interests, cultural expectations and needs of the audience. As such campaigns should be pre-assessed when possible in an ex-ante evaluation. This paper investigates the usefulness of applying a persuasive marketing framework to assess the likely impact of a social marketing campaign desiring to use information as a key component in driving behaviour change. The goal is to see if the framework continues to have utility when applied to a campaign which is not overtly persuasive, but rather adopts a ‘bottom-up communication approach’. Such an approach involves both campaign designers and receivers in a symmetrical process using dialogue, participation and involvement in the process, as opposed to a top-down approach to communication featuring scientific persuasion or instructional transmission of information.



behaviour change, energy, feedback, Elaboration Likelihood Model, Social Marketing


Wilson, C. and Stuart, G. (2013) Can persuasion theory help assess a deliberative communication approach? 12th Int. Coll. on Arts, Social and Nonprofit Marketing, Heriot-Watt University, 6th September 2013. Heriot-Watt University and the Academy of Marketing


Research Institute