Fear or Hope? How about both?

Thanks to Olson Zaltman’s Joe Plummer for sharing this article on a new study from Wunderman Health that discusses how best to promote behavior change among people who are stuck in “health inertia.”  (In other words, people who have bad health habits like smoking but have resisted changing those habits).

It is a common question from many clients – not just those in the healthcare sector – do you more effectively motivate people with fear or with hope?  This study suggests the answer is, “yes.”

The research indicates you need a blend of the two and that they each have a role.  Fear-based messaging can spark immediate action.  More hopeful messaging makes people reflect more deeply on their behavior change, and thus encourages them to stick with it long-term.

You can read the report in its entirety. It is relatively short, but is rich with food for thought.