Archive for March, 2013

Just for you, __(insert your name here)__: A Stormy Lesson in Influence

 By Steve Martin, CMCT

 In late October 2012 Hurricane Sandy bulldozed its way through the Caribbean and across the Mid-Atlantic before hitting land again in the North-Eastern United States causing a trail of destruction and devastation in its wake. Violent gusts nearing 100 mph accompanied by lashing rains left widespread damage estimated at over $75 billion. In the aftermath many thousands of individuals as well as organizations such as the American Red Cross and the United Nations marshaled resources towards clean-up and relief operations. Corporations and businesses helped too. A number of network news channels held telethons and appeals that generated millions of dollars in donations.

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The role played by the news networks wasn’t just limited to encouraging contributions towards relief efforts. They were also responsible for generating a series of unofficial names for the hurricane. Snowicane was one such example that served to highlight the projected snow fall that would accompany hurricane Sandy. Frankenstorm was another – a reference to the storm’s close proximity to Halloween.

While I am not aware of any evidence that assigning an unofficial name to a hurricane would have any influence on an individual’s likelihood to support relief efforts, there is evidence of a connection between a hurricane’s official name and some individual’s likelihood to donate.

Not only is this connection surprising, it could offer some important insights into how you persuade others in the future.  

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