I want to describe a piece of remarkably effective communication. I know that it is effective because just 2 messages have changed my behaviour and I am confident that those 2 messages have changed my behaviour for ever. I've been talking about this with a variety of people over the last few weeks and I've been trying to understand what it means for how the Constellation communicates.
I got the first message from a poster. As far as I can remember it was a simple black text on a white background. It said, "If you knock over a child when you are travelling at 40 miles per hour, there is an 80% chance that she will die. If you knock over a child when you are travelling at 30 miles per hour, then there is an 80% chance that she will live." That was first one.
I got the second message from a television advert. A male voice repeats the first half of the text. 'If you knock over a child when you are travelling at 40 miles per hour, there is an 80% chance that she will die.' And there an image of a young girl lying on the street, motionless, with a trickle of blood flowing from her nose. And then the voice goes on, 'If you knock over a child when you are travelling at 30 miles per hour, there is an 80% chance that the child will live." and the trickle of blood flows backwards, the young girl stirs and she opens her eyes.
What I know is that with the first message, my concern to stay within the 30 mph speed limits went up dramatically. After seeing the television advert, I'd say that I now drive within the 30 mph speed limit 95% of the time. And when I find myself drifting up over 30 mph, I am annoyed with myself and cut my speed.
Talking with people I've found several angles to look at this remarkable transformation. Here is one.
The television image taps into a Dream and a Nightmare that I am confident that 99.9999% of the population shares. The Dream is that no child should be killed on our roads. And the nightmare is that we will one day be responsible for such a terrible event. And the text gives me the opportunity to take a very practical action that I am confident will make a contribution to making my Dream come true and to avoiding my Nightmare. It's almost as if the combination traps me into changing my behaviour. If I am serious about the Dream, then I have no choice but to act in this way. And for the last 4 weeks, I have been driven to change my behaviour.
I think that the Constellation can learn from this story and I want to come back to that in another posting.
...but I would like you to reflect on your behaviour and keep the speed limit when driving in built-up areas
...and if you would like to see more statistics about speed that might cause you to change your behaviour go to http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/advice/driving/speed_policy.htm