Word of the Week: Framing

Do you have the right frame?

This is the first in a new series called Word of the Week. Each week, we’ll take a different word or expression and look at how it can help you create  better messaging, punchier copy, and more engaging content.

This week’s word is FRAMING.

“Framing” refers to how you structure or present your cause or issue.

We frame things largely through word choices. For instance, “drilling for oil” sounds pretty different than “exploring energy options”. Whether we’re spending “government funds” or the “taxpayers’ money” makes us think about those dollars differently. “Pro-life” and “pro-choice” are two different frames on abortion.

Why should you care about framing?  Your frame reflects your beliefs. It communicates where you stand on an issue and that, in turn, lets people decide whether they want to stand with you.

Framing is a strategic choice about where you want people to focus. For instance, in 1996, the Canadian government decided to get rid of “unemployment insurance” and usher in “employment insurance”. The goal was to shift the focus from unemployment to finding employment. (It took awhile for people to embrace “EI” instead of “UI” but change is hard, eh?)

Is your organization framed in a way that clearly communicates what you stand for and what you believe?

Tomorrow, we’ll look at how Valentine’s Day is being re-framed. Bring on the generosity, people! (Yes, that was a hint.)

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