Are you communicating to people who are “away-from” or “drawn-towards?”

Are you communicating to people who are “away-from” or “drawn-towards?”

Whatever you are communicating through your charity, it helps to know what people react to.   As individuals we all operate on across a spectrum of communication choices.   For example are you, your donors, or your volunteers motivated “away from” or motivated “towards”?  And what on earth do we mean by this?

Let’s use insurance, to explain.  Most people believe that people buy insurance because they are heavily motivated away from the risk of losing it all if they aren’t covered… And certain car makes are renowned for being more safe than sexy.

But take a look at the “new Naughty Volvo”   What’s happening there?   Well it seems that Volvo, renowned, safe, secure brand, is taking a radical step outside of its niche, and opening up to the more fun-loving car-buyers.   Volvo’s embrace of all the customers they could have had, is risky… but not too risky!

Here’s their quote: “With the all-new Volvo S60, a new dimension is now being revealed – The Naughty Volvo. The aim is for driving pleasure, world-class design and innovative safety to attract more customers to the Volvo brand.”

This Volvo move, is in itself is a great case in NLP flips and marketing initiative.  How many drivers are safety-focused, and how many care more about looks and performance?   I get the feeling we’re looking at a large Venn diagram with a chunky over-lap, and Volvo is determined to indulge that substantial centre arena.   It’s a clever move, one that I’m sure will pay off.

So what lessons can we all learn from this?   Well it’s going to depend on your own brand strength.  Flip-flopping all over the place with a brand that is less-than-strong wins nothing.  There really is no such thing as the “general public”, and it’s vital to play to your strengths (those are your strengths that your target audience actually cares about!).  It’s also important not to dilute your current brand proposition.   Notice the Volvo wording – they may be naughty but they still play strongly on that “innovative safety”.

Should you “naughty-up” your charity?

If you are going to expand your market share by embracing new market sectors, then the first place to start is in research.  A well-designed, objective and rational research campaign, to consider not just the market places that you are in, but also those that you are neglecting, could just open up a brand new horizon.  With the current economy it makes so much sense to do this, that the only “naughty” thing you could be accused of is ignoring an untapped reserve of customers or donors.

The NLP model allows a number of communication models to be examined, when taken in conjunction with sound PR and marketing research, this can create new ways of looking at your organisation.  Used correctly it can open up new markets and generate new supporters, donors or opportunities.  

NLP helps to define and refine how great communication models work, and helps to unlock the best routes to making your charity’s PR and marketing messages clear and effective.  

Sue Haswell is a Master Practitioner of NLP and can be found at

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