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Mindful Messaging: The Science to Getting Inside the Brain of Your Audience

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 -
12:00pm to 1:30pm PDT
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
1661 Page Mill Road | Palo Alto, CA
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Every day brings new insights from behavioral economics, psychology, and the social sciences that help us better understand how people think and why they do what they do.

The brain is a bit like a pinball machine. Messages go in. Sometimes they hit the right places and trigger the preferred response. Sometimes they hit the wrong spots and people are alienated and reject the messaging. Still other times, you lose the ball altogether and have to start all over again.

Mindful Messaging harnesses the ever-expanding knowledge about attitudes, social norms, and aspirations and offers guidance for applying these insights to social change efforts. It helps us thoughtfully consider who we are trying to engage, anticipate how their brains might process messaging we use, and keeps us from making predictable mistakes that hinder our efforts instead of moving us forward. And it helps facilitate two-way communication so messaging leads to useful dialogue about important issues rather than dead ends.

Join Us To:

This highly interactive session, led by Erin Hart of Spitfire Strategies, will walk through:

  • How to think about audiences not just demographically (who they are), but also psychographically (why they think and do what they do)
  • How to figure out what is at play in that mind of theirs and what messaging needs to take into account to connect with and not alienate those we want to engage in conversations about important issues
  • How to both gather this intel and insights and put it to work in a way that strengthens messaging efforts


Erin B. Hart, Chief Innovation Officer, Spitfire Strategies

Erin B. Hart

Erin believes that communication is a powerful driver for social change. She’s worked with foundations, nonprofits, government agencies and more to help them engage their audiences and develop programs that make a difference for people’s health, the environment and social justice. At Spitfire Erin directs the firm’s learning work and collaborates with clients including The California Wellness Foundation, Conservation Law Foundation, Gates Foundation and Heising-Simons Foundation.

Before coming to Spitfire, Erin served as Fenton’s chief client officer and built the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s first strategic communications department. During her time at the Foundation, she refreshed the organization’s identity and built an online presence to help people better communicate the Foundation’s focus and forge partnerships in science, patient care and the environment. She also worked with grantees to showcase the importance of scientific research and support work including the Earthquake Early-Warning System.

Erin has developed public education campaigns on a variety of issues. She created a California campaign on the need to grow and diversify the state’s healthcare workforce, and it included outreach to decision makers and Health Jobs Start Here for youth and young adults. At her own firm and GolinHarris, Erin worked with the American Legacy Foundation – and its popular truth® campaign – and state and local health departments to develop tobacco-control brands and campaigns that would prevent youth from starting to smoke. She also developed communication and marketing plans for smoking-cessation campaigns across the country.

Her work in government includes serving as the state of Florida’s environmental education director and developing environmental citizenship campaigns. At the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, she developed unique public-private training programs and media partnerships that made science more accessible to the public. Her work at the Florida Marine Research Institute and Florida Museum of Natural History connected the state’s future to its natural environment and shared information through media relations and special events. Erin’s experience with environmental and health issues includes work in crisis communications.

Erin has a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Florida, which recognized her as a 2016 Alumna of Distinction. She happily collaborates with the first-ever chair in public interest communications to grow and diversify the field through efforts such as frank and to support research that makes communicators more effective at working toward the greater good. She and Kristen Grimm currently co-teach a course in strategies for policy impact at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy.

Target Audience

Space is limited. Please register early.

This program is open to NCG members and non-members. Anyone who wants to improve communication with a variety of audiences should attend.

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