Not all is quite so new in the world of political messaging and behaviour change

On my way to windmill spotting in Lincoln recently, I happened across this example of an 19th century election leaflet for the City of Lincoln’s local elections:

It’s a neat example of a point I’ve made before, that what can seem new and exciting in the world of communications often is really long-established ideas in slightly new clothes.

In this case, note two particular features of the message. First, the reference to electors having previously elected Mr Page four times before. In other words, ‘lots of people liked me, so stick with me’ – a mix of what now in the world of behavioural economics gets dressed up with phrases such as uses of social proof (‘look, lots of other people like me so you should too’) and appeals to consistency (‘you voted for me before so you should vote for me again’). Second, Mr Page’s thanks to the electors. That’s what now gets called an appeal to reciprocity – I do something nice for you, you’re more likely to do something nice for me.

Certainly some of the advances in behavioural economics, both in terms of research into how the brain works and in creating theories to marshal and organise such knowledge, are very useful. As Lincoln’s Mr Page also shows, they’re not quite as new as some of their keenest proponents make out.

* Mark Pack has written 101 Ways To Win An Election and produces a monthly newsletter about the Liberal Democrats.

Read more by or more about , , or .
This entry was posted in Campaign Corner.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/31427 for Twitter and emails.

One Comment

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?




Recent Comments

  • User Avatarpaul barker 25th Oct - 3:12pm
    The big problem is not how we do when we stand but that we dont stand at all in so many places. We have plenty...
  • User AvatarHelen Tedcastle 25th Oct - 2:52pm
    Matthew Huntbach, ‘ What have all these protestors actually achieved in terms of building a political alternative that wins votes? Nothing.’ I don't know whether...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 25th Oct - 2:16pm
    Andrew, so your answer to economic prosperity is to introduce a farmers tax? The LVT. £120 billion of tax avoidance? Well, this figure isn't true....
  • User AvatarAndrew Colman 25th Oct - 2:00pm
    As for the Lib Dems, we need to come radical again. Given the latest opinion polls, we have nothing to loose. UKIP and SNP are...
  • User AvatarAndrew Colman 25th Oct - 1:44pm
    Following the banking crisis and credit crunch and consequent debts, the failure of the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath including ISIS. The left ought...
  • User AvatarAllan 25th Oct - 1:23pm
    And the great thing is the EU are allowing the UK the privalage of paying an extra £1.7b towards the goal and increasing our annual...