Changing hearts and minds: social science insights for communicators

Conference
5 March 2020
09.30 - 17.30
Members £186 +VAT
Corporate Partners £231 +VAT
Small charity non-members £206 +VAT
Medium charity non-members £256 +VAT
Large charity non-members £291 +VAT
Super large charity non-members £321 +VAT
Corporate and public sector non-members £410+VAT

etc venues Prospero House
241 Borough High Street
London
SE1 1GA

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As charity professionals, changing hearts and minds is a central part of what we do. From encouraging people to think differently about causes to inspiring them to take better care of each other and their environments.

This year’s conference will once again explore how charities can leverage insights from the social sciences to improve lives and help solve some of society’s greatest challenges.

From behavioural economics and psychology to digital anthropology and evolutionary biology – our speakers will come from a range of sectors to share the latest thinking, theories and tools to improve your campaigns, marketing and communications.

In response to your feedback, this year’s event will host longer, more practical masterclasses, giving you the chance to understand theory and apply it to your own work. Topics we’ll be covering include:

  • The science behind fake news and misinformation: lessons for effective charity communications
  • How framing is changing the rules of charity comms
  • The political, social, technological and charity trends that will influence how your supporters, funders and service users behave and engage
  • What are narratives? Why do they matter?
  • How can we change them?
  • How to identify or develop a values framework and apply it to your audiences
  • The science of creating lasting change 
  • How to find the heart of your story and truly connect with your audience
  • Putting the ‘strategic’ in ‘strategic communications’ – what science tells us about the power of comms
  • Changing the stories that shape us: influencing popular culture
  • Polarisation and what it means for communicators

Who is this event for?
Charity marketing, campaigns and communications professionals or anyone looking to use insights from the social sciences in their work to engage people and create change.

09.30-10.00
Registration and networking breakfast
10.00-10.10
Welcome and ice breaker
10.10-10.45
Why it's so hard to change minds

When did you last change your mind on a substantive policy issue? Do you find you increasingly dislike people who don’t share your views? Do you know what’s happening at a neurological level? How can we use this awareness to make sense of what’s going on in politics, society and business? In this fascinating talk, Laura and Alex share insights and ground-breaking research which shapes the book on polarisation they’re writing with Alison Goldsworthy. They’ll explore the relationship between polarisation and campaigning, and why our approaches, while totally understandable, can make things worse – and what we can all do to offset it.

Alexandra Chesterfield, behavioural scientist, Depolarization Project

Laura Osborne, associate, Depolarization Project and campaigns director, London First

10.45-10.55
Movement time

Feel free to grab a drink on route, but please arrive on time for your next session.          

10.55-12.25
Breakout one: workshops

1a. Golden rules for changing hearts and minds in divided times (repeated in Breakout two)

We’re living and working through division and disruption. Our organisations exist to help solve some of society’s biggest challenges. But it can be a struggle to reach and move people – and to connect across divides. For 20 years the FrameWorks Institute has studied what people think, why they think it and what can move them to think and feel differently. In this workshop, we’ll hear about framing and how it can help charities to better understand public perceptions – and to unleash powerful new narratives. You’ll have the opportunity to work in groups with people working on similar issues to explore and shape unifying frames and narratives together.

Nicky Hawkins, senior campaign strategist and UK lead, FrameWorks Institute 

Suitable for: Everyone!

 

1b. The science behind fake news and misinformation: lessons for effective charity communications 

Barely a day goes by without the words ‘fake news’ being proclaimed in public discourse. In this interactive workshop, Andreas Kappes will explore what social science can tell us about misinformation, how it works and what we can do to minimise its impact on our charities and audiences. Exploring the latest research on fake news, he will demonstrate how people process unwelcome information and how we can use this insight to our advantage in order to construct compelling communications that really do change hearts and minds.

Dr Andreas Kappes, lecturer, University of London

Suitable for: anyone interested in learning about the latest science behind fake news and how to apply insights to communications in order to counter unhelpful narratives and change perceptions.

 

1c. How to identify or develop a values framework and apply it to your audiences

What is it that someone values in life, and how does this impact on the kinds of charities they choose to support? How can charities find groups of people who share their values? Can charities tailor their messages to appeal to the values of their key audiences? In this interactive workshop, we will look at the different approaches you can take to segment your audiences by their fundamental values, including, using existing models or developing frameworks for your charity.

Cian Murphy, director, nfpSynergy

Suitable for: anyone interested in learning more about how to use values frameworks to engage with audiences. Would suit all budgets, though segmentation itself can be expensive. 

 

1d. How to find the heart of your story and truly connect with your audience

Even with no end of case studies, advocates and champions, it can be hard to tell a cohesive narrative about an organisation. The solution is to drill down into the core story which lies at the heart of why you exist and what you do. In this workshop, Stephen will take you through the process of uncovering the heart of your charity’s narrative and how to best communicate it.

Suitable for: all budgets and anyone interested in developing their charity’s story

Stephen Follows
creative director, Catsnake

12.25-13.25
Lunch, networking and advice surgeries
13.25-14.55
Breakout two: workshops

2a. Golden rules for changing hearts and minds in divided times 

We’re living and working through division and disruption. Our organisations exist to help solve some of society’s biggest challenges. But it can be a struggle to reach and move people – and to connect across divides. For 20 years the FrameWorks Institute has studied what people think, why they think it and what can move them to think and feel differently. In this workshop, we’ll hear about framing and how it can help charities to better understand public perceptions – and to unleash powerful new narratives. You’ll have the opportunity to work in groups with people working on similar issues to explore and shape unifying frames and narratives together.

Nicky Hawkins, senior campaign strategist and UK lead, FrameWorks Institute

Suitable for: Everyone!

 

2b. Applying behavioural insights to comms

The Behavioural Insights Team (former Government nudge unit) apply behavioural insights to inform policy, improve public services, and deliver positive results for people and communities. In this session, delegates will hear about what behavioural science is and learn about the different models used by BIT. Following the theory, Clare will facilitate a workshop covering how attendees can apply behavioural science to build thriving communities, with a particular focus on reducing loneliness and social isolation.

Clare Delargy, senior research advisor, The Behavioural Insights Team

Suitable for: all budgets and people looking to change behaviour using models such as EAST. Particularly interesting to those interested in developing communities and facilitating social connection. No prior knowledge required.

 

2c. The science behind fake news and misinformation: lessons for effective charity communications 

Barely a day goes by without the words ‘fake news’ being proclaimed in public discourse. In this interactive workshop, Andreas Kappes will explore what social science can tell us about misinformation, how it works and what we can do to minimise its impact on our charities and audiences. Exploring the latest research on fake news, he will demonstrate how people process unwelcome information and how we can use this insight to our advantage in order to construct compelling communications that really do change hearts and minds.

Dr Andreas Kappes, lecturer, University of London

Suitable for: anyone interested in learning about the latest science behind fake news and how to apply insights to communications in order to counter unhelpful narratives and change perceptions.

 

2d. Speaker to be confirmed soon.

14.55-15.20
Afternoon refreshments, networking and advice surgeries
15.20-15.40
Plenary: creating a new ‘sea story’ to shift public debate

Our future depends on a healthy ocean. But sadly, we see low levels of public understanding of why the ocean matters and what is needed to steward its recovery. In this talk, we’ll hear how meeting people where they are and communicating the full value of the ocean can achieve faster and more effective results. The Marine CoLABoration group will share insights from ground-breaking research which sets out a new communications strategy for the ocean. We’ll hear how easy-to-use metaphors can deepen understanding of complex concepts and build support for systemic solutions. They’ll also discuss the strategy for spreading and embedding this research to support the sector to create a new ‘sea story’ and shift public debate.

Natalie Hart, comms lead, Marine CoLABoration 

15.40-16.00
Plenary: trends in a turbulent world

In this talk, we’ll hear about some of the big trends in the UK and globally that you need to know about to make sure your charity is effective in the next five years. Michele will look at the big political, social, technological and charity trends that will influence how your supporters, funders and service users will behave and engage with your cause in the coming years.

Michele Madden, managing director, nfpSynergy                                           

16.00-16.10
Movement time

Feel free to grab a drink on route, but please arrive on time for your next session.

16.10-17.00
Breakout session three: Case studies

3a. How framing is changing the rules of charity comms
A revelation. A revolution. Game-changing. Just three ways of describing the communications science behind JRF’s work to tell a new story about poverty in the UK. Realising that the overall picture of poverty hadn’t changed for years, JRF embarked on a ground-breaking approach based on the latest research. In this session, we’ll hear about the framing theory they used and how it was applied in practice through different tactics. They’ll show how changing public discourse and perception is one of the building blocks for bringing about lasting social change. They’ll share the things they’ve had to do differently and how they’ve strategically applied evidence-based techniques to make their comms more powerful. We’ll hear what they’ve learned as they’ve used framing to build a movement demanding change, and there will be time to ask questions and connect with the speakers for potential follow-up opportunities.

Luke Henrion, strategic communications manager, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Paul Brook, chief copywriter, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Suitable for: copywriters, comms strategists, comms managers, content creators, and anyone interested in public attitudes and how to influence them.

 

3b. Embedding social research insights into your communications and culture
Over the last three years, Crisis has commissioned a largescale research project to help them understand how best to communicate about homelessness in order to build public support and political commitment to action and change. The research included on the street interviews, face to face testing and a series experimental surveys with over 10,000 people. In this session, we’ll hear what they learnt about effective framing, how they are embedding the research and getting internal buy-in when results are rarely quick in the social change game. We’ll hear about how they mapped existing shared cultural understandings and mental models, and used values and metaphors to craft new messages in order to communicate more effective stories.

Kate Nightingale, head of marketing and communications, Crisis

Suitable for: anyone interested in how to embed social research insights into their messaging and communications. Particularly interesting to those working in the homelessness sector but wider insights apply to other sectors.

 

3c. Testing stories in the real world: a case study breakdown with Unicef and Catsnake.

The right story well-told can have a transformative effect on the effectiveness of an charity’s marketing. But which story to tell? And which aspects of that story are going to connect the deepest? Unicef and story agency Catsnake explain the processes they went through to discover the most powerful stories in driving action from Unicef’s legacy audience. The team will also highlight the key ideas which drove the project, and which can be used by organisations of any size.

Suitable for: charities of all sizes and people looking to develop their organisational story

 

3d. Shifting public perceptions of childhood obesity as part of a long-term approach to improve health

Urban health foundation Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity is running a ten-year programme to improve children’s health in inner cities by tackling childhood obesity. As part of this work, it has undertaken a two-year project using cultural models and re-framing research. This research explored the public’s deeply-held beliefs about childhood obesity, how these are often at odds with what the evidence tells us and, crucially, how these can change. In this session, we’ll hear about how the charity recognised that public understanding of childhood obesity was a barrier to making progress, and how it went about transforming this understanding. We’ll also hear how it is working with influencers in the sector to maximise the impact of this work in the long-term.

Rosa Vaquero, head of comms and Rachel Pidgeon, communications manager, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity

Suitable for: anyone interested in how communication is affected and shaped by culture – and how we can influence this in the long-term. Particularly interesting to those working in the health sector.

Stephen Follows
creative director, Catsnake

Madhu Parthasarathi
digital campaigns manager, Unicef

17.00- 17.30
Networking and refreshments
17.30
Close

Have a question about the content? Please get in touch with Emma. Have a question about the event in general? Please get in touch with Vanessa.


Calling all charity speakers!

Interested in sharing the great work your charity is doing? Please email Emma with your 100-word pitch outlining what your session would cover and why you think it would be useful (charities only please).

Are you an agency interested in presenting?

We have a handful of speaking slot and stand packages available which include a breakout session speaking slot, along with lots of other benefits. If you’re interested in exhibiting but don’t fancy presenting, we also have stand packages on offer. Please get in touch with Vanessa for more information. 

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