Seth Godin thinks that the global warming movement could use better copywriters.
Without getting into a debate about the underlying science, Seth uses global warming as an example of how the way a story is told matters more than the underlying facts. He thinks in this case, it boils down to choosing the wrong words when warning of the possibility of catastrophic climate change.
Global is good.
Warm is good.
Even greenhouses are good places.
How can “global warming” be bad?
I’m not being facetious. If the problem were called “Atmosphere cancer” or “Pollution death” the entire conversation would be framed in a different way.
I’d call it “pollution plague” myself (if you hadn’t guessed). Cancer and death are things that happen to individuals, but the plague has ravaged entire civilizations. That’s a story that has a chance of getting people to take action.
The marketing lesson is clear. If a whole bunch of scientists think our current practices may lead to ecological disaster, and everyone pretty much yawns because the story isn’t vivid enough, what happens to a silly little business with a lame story?
We’ve seen that in a competitive situation, the better story tends to win, even sometimes over greater merit. We know that people decide based on emotion, and then justify with logic. And we know that once a certain number of people adopt a story as one they want to hear, there’s a good chance that a lot of others will too.
In today’s business environment, it’s not enough to have a story. It’s got to be a vivid, engaging story that connects at an emotional level. Anything less may well lead to disaster.