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The Power of Effective Messaging, Elizabeth Gaines

The Power of Effective Messaging, Elizabeth Gaines

Children’s Funding Project

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney took a brilliant approach to the Sugary Drink Tax in 2016, which I discussed with him in an interview. Instead of focusing on the public health benefits of the tax, Mayor Kenney approached the tax as simply a way to generate new revenue for something the city desperately needed. He emphasized the benefits of the cash injection for the city, which had limited funds that year, to enable investment in public programs such as universal pre-kindergarten and community schools.

In a 2016 interview with Reuters, Kenney said, “If you want to tax something and people know where the money’s going to go, then it’s easier for them to get behind it.” He noted that focusing on revenue rather than health, was largely responsible for the measure’s passage. The brilliance of this approach was lost on many, but is something advocates should keep in mind. Sometimes, to make positive changes, you might benefit from not taking the most straightforward path from point A to point B.

In this case: a different approach to messaging by describing the elements of the proposal that are most resonant with your audience is important.

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