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.


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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