Zatabase: Focus Group Tested Language by Brad Chism

By at August 23, 2012 | 12:45 pm | Print

Zatabase:  Focus Group Tested Language by Brad Chism

Brad Chism Zata 3

Progressives admit a decade later that embracing the words “Tort Reform” as a shorthand description in the complex debate over massive rollbacks in consumer protection was a huge, self-inflicted wound. In this era of Bumper Sticker Messaging, the GOP had coined an unbeatable phrase and we made their argument for them with each utterance.

Emboldened by their 2010 mid term sweep and, no doubt, additional message testing, Republicans continue to believe in the power of the pejorative Obamacare. Many Democrats are embracing the term in the aftermath of the recent Supreme Court decision—for a small donation you can get an I Love Obamacare sticker from the DCCC. Are we leading with our chin or will independent voters reward us for proudly embracing a core principle? Time will tell who is right.

But we don’t have to wait until November for sound advice on the best language to use on some other hot button issues. Lots of focus groups with swing voters by several progressive organizations provide us with a useful list of Do’s and Don’ts for candidates and their messaging.

Here’s are some reminders when talking about the immigration issue:
Don’t Say:                                    Do Say:        

Illegal Aliens                                 Aspiring citizens

Illegal Immigrants                         New American Immigrants

Pathway to citizenship                   Roadmap to citizenship

Reform immigration system          Create an immigration process

And here are some reminders when talking about LGBT People and Equality:

Don’t’ Say:                                  Do Say:

Homosexuality                              Being gay

Gay Rights                                    Fairness and equity

Religious Extremists                     Far-Right activists

Marriage Rights                            Taking care of the one you love

Space limitations don’t allow for a full explanation of the power of these word choices. Email for a more detailed explanation by the experts who have developed these helpful guides.

Brad Chism, Partner and Senior Strategist of Zata|3 Consulting. Zata|3 helps elect Democrats and advance progressive causes by integrating telephone voter contact programs with a campaign’s other messaging. Zata|3 offers a full range of automated and live calling programs, from the initial ID call to the final GOTV message. Other services to reach your targeted voters include: SMS (text) messaging, Zata|Forum™ Telephone Town Halls, Zata|Pulse® Interactive Automated Surveys, and, coming soon, web-based Zata|Live™ Video Forum Town Halls.

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