ISO 31000 and risk training programs must include a major communication excercise
Itâs shocking but does it work?
The debate on using 'shock value' is an old one but the fact that it is still taking place suggests that there is more thinking required. And the fact that numerous safety and risk communication campaigns continue to include some type of ‘shock ’ suggests that a lot of people think that it works.
Look - if you can
Take a quick look at many of the quit smoking campaigns. Looking at a picture of an amputee or nose and throat cancer victim isn’t much fun. To most people it’s shocking but the important questions are these:
- Does it shock most smokers?
- Is there a difference between the impact on older smokers and younger smokers? For example, a proportion of younger smokers might be shocked but they might also be thinking that it will never happen to them, or at least they might think, as Mick Jagger would put it, ‘time is on their side’.
- Do older smokers think that it either won’t happen to them, or it is probably too late to do anything anyway.
There has been an advertising campaign in Australia targeting speeding by young drivers. The catch line was something like ‘no one thinks big of you when you speed’ and the reference is to the size of the poor boy’s appendage. Reports are that it has been very effective. There is not much shock here except the shock that the ads got past the censors. It seems that ‘embarrassment’ rather than shock might be the success factor. I mean what young testosterone pumping teenager wants to be seen as having a small one?
By the way if you want to take a peek at the video, No one thinks big of you, click Speeding - Pinkie, to play the video link and read more about the success of the campaign.
It's about relevance
Does this mean that embarrassment could be a better motivator than shock for changing risky behaviour? Or does it mean that it is about relevance? The more relevant the content and the message is to your audience the more successful the message and training is going to be.
Case studies and examples of why and how things go wrong are very effective when it comes to implementing the ISO 31000 standard. The trick is to keep them relevant to your audience. That doesn’t mean, as many people believe, that the example has to be from the same industry, same country, same town, exact same job or situation. It does mean that from the case study, people can appreciate it is a realistic representation of the type of thing that can and might happen. People are very good at filtering the messages that might be relevant to them.