At the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch), our Valuing the Ocean strand has been exploring the power of framing messages to create a new ‘sea story’.
Recently, we worked with the FrameWorks Institute to develop the Turning the Tide report and accompanying Reframing the Ocean guide which provide a ‘first aid kit’ for ocean reframing. The research sets out tools for deepening public understanding of ocean health and build support for the systemic solutions that can aid its recovery.
To identify effective ways of talking about the ocean and marine conservation, FrameWorks researchers developed a wide range of potential frames and metaphors. They tested the effectiveness of these with members of the UK public and the usability with marine experts.
The most successful frame was the ‘Changing Health’ story, which has three key ingredients:
1. Establish that the ocean has health. Health language and body metaphors
establish that the ocean can change. It helps people understand the role
of the ocean in our planet’s ability to function. It reveals how disruptions
to the ocean’s health can cause wider harm.
2. Turn to the future to increase people’s sense that there are actions
we can take to heal and take care of the ocean.
3. Explain how the ocean’s health has worsened over time, specifying
impacts and consequences.
To launch the research, the FrameWorks Institute and Marine CoLAB invited marine communicators to a hands-on workshop to get to grips with this new messaging approach. Moira O’Neil and Nicky Hawkins from the FrameWorks Institute explained why language matters and revealed simple tips and tools for telling a new story about the ocean.
A series of workshop films (below) explain how you can put the framing strategies in place to improve your ocean communications.
The first film covers the importance of framing and how strategic messaging can change hearts and minds. The second film looks at the health aspect of the Changing Health story. The final film addresses the temporal change aspect of the Changing Health story.