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Changing People’s Minds About the Vaccine: Are Organizations Missing a Trick?

New research shows do’s and don’ts of vaccine campaigns to convince US populace

With people starting to get vaccinated in the US, what role can communications campaigns play in influencing people to have their jab? New research from buzzback has found that while 70% of people in the US are hopeful and optimistic about the vaccine and more than half see it as their social responsibility to get it, there is still about 30% who want to ‘wait and see’ and over 50% who have concerns about efficacy and safety – putting future herd immunity at risk.

Buzzback presented US residents with a variety of recent video campaigns promoting the vaccine, to measure if and how the campaigns would impact their attitudes and acceptance. People were questioned about their attitudes toward vaccines before randomly viewing one of five videos, ranging from public announcements, to internal communication campaigns, educational videos, and brand advertising. Having seen the video, they then answered questions around how it made them feel.

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According to buzzback prior to seeing any of the communications, 30% of the US residents said they were not interested in getting the vaccine, mostly due to worries about getting reactions, side effects and the need for greater efficacy. When questioned after viewing the videos, similar numbers said they won’t get vaccinated, implying that the communications fell short in convincing people to change their minds.

It seems organizations are missing a trick in how they communicate around the vaccines with negative implications for herd immunity.

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Helpfully, buzzback’s research revealed several pointers on how to develop campaigns going forward. Here are some do’s and don’ts for brands that want to nail the vaccine campaign:

  • Emotions play an important role. Communications with emotional draws arouse positive reactions, with 6 out of 10 consumers feeling more optimistic after viewing them. However, it’s critical to focus on the “right” emotions. Using negative emotions such as worry and fear do not work well.
  • People are craving clear information and want to be reassured. Having more evidence around safety, clinical trials, and efficacy are factors that will encourage people to consider getting vaccinated.
  • They want to hear it from professionals. Far from dismissing experts, this research shows that scientists, and healthcare professionals are the most trusted sources.

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The key for an effective vaccine campaign is to strike a balance between educating people and appealing to them emotionally. Organizations should keep this balance in mind and focus on providing evidence of efficacy backed by trusted sources.

Carol Fitzgerald, Founder and CEO at buzzback, said “In an environment where some people are still hesitant about getting the vaccine, it’s important for advertising to be empathetic to consumers’ worries and address them effectively. Organizations should balance the need for trusted information with the power of positive emotions.”

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