Reframing newsletter

Human Potential: A Value that Resonates

February 18, 2016

Reframing works by creating a new narrative that utilizes the FrameWorks Institute’s strategic frame elements of Value, Metaphor and Explanatory Examples. In our last newsletter, we discussed the importance of leading our communications with the value of Human Potential. Here, we explain how that value was identified.

A value represents an enduring belief in society that orients an individual’s attitude and behavior. Exposure to a value triggers a specific response stemming from deeply-rooted patterns of public thinking. We know from our research that a significant barrier in communicating the full range and importance of the sector is that the public believes that human services is restricted to temporary, financial support to individuals during times of crisis. They key to FrameWorks’ strategic approach to building a broader public understanding of human services as being mutually beneficial is to lead communications with a researched-tested value.

human potential quote

Image courtesy of the FrameWorks Institute

To identify the most productive value for these purposes, FrameWorks conducted a survey that measured how participants perceived human services when presented in the context of one of six different values—Collective Prosperity, Pragmatism, Autonomy, Opportunity for All, Compassion, and Human Potential. FrameWorks compared the responses associated with each value against a control group of participants who were given the same answer choices without the value context. Human Potential significantly outperformed each of the five other values, with participants exposed to the value demonstrating a greater understanding of the full range of human services, including planning, research, prevention, and remediation.

The magnitude of the difference Human Potential made on survey participants’ responses is significant because they were exposed to the value only once, in isolation from the other elements of the Building Well-Being Narrative. When Human Potential was subsequently combined with these other narrative elements—the Construction metaphor and Life Cycle example—survey participants chose the broader understanding of human services at a nine percentage point average higher rate than the control group.

FrameWorks surveyed a nationally representative sample of almost 5,000 people to arrive at the Building Well-Being Narrative. Their research shows that incorporating the Building Well-Being Narrative into your regular communications will shift attitudes, knowledge and policy support for human service over time. We’ll do a deeper dive on the next element, the Construction Metaphor, in upcoming issues of the newsletter.