Monday, October 19, 2009

Re-Tooling the Message of Antipiracy Content Protection

Word matter. Fortunately, photographers have other creatives - musicians, movie-makers, and the like with far better organization that we can muster, and thus they can commission research about how to best convey the message that stealing intellectual property is bad. ASMP NY did a good job of illustrating the similarity between analog and online image theft, as we discussed recently. Yet, more can be done.

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Examples about in how, simply by making something sound and read differently through a linguistic change can make things more effective or appealing. Dr. Frank Luntz, author of one of my favorite books - "Words That Work", discussed this in great detail. "Gambling", for example, was changed to "Gaming" industry-wide. Liquor, as Luntz points out, has a negative connotation, and is now more positively referred to as "Spirits." The Republican's Contract With America was a brilliant move, including acts patriotically titled "The Taking Back Our Streets Act", and the "Personal Responsibility Act". Whether or not you like the Republicans, you have to give them their due for brilliant word-smithing on that front. Thus, just the momentum that comes from "helping orphans" is the basis for those on the "pro" side of the "Orphan Works Act", whenever it resurfaces.

Perhaps we should get it re-branded as something like "Photos for Free At the Expense of Artists Act" and see how far it goes? Maybe that's a bit wordy, but photographers are mis-percieved as cold because, well gosh, how can we be against something that's good for "orphans"?

As you work on your own branding and messaging to clients, be sure to be thoughtful in the words that you use and make sure they not only say what you mean, but also, that they work.

With thanks to Gail Mooney for the MPAA messaging tip.

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