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2 Min Read

To Sell Or Tell?


If you want to get people to take action you have to appeal to their emotions, and in particular, things they care about. In this video, Doug Hattaway, president and CEO of Hattaway Communications, discusses the difference between what he calls “functional communications” — the layering on of “who, what and when” kinds of details — vs. more powerful “aspirational communications” which engage people in issues and causes and get them to respond.

During the course of his conversation with Communications Network contributor Susan Herr, Hattaway also describes some of the emerging scientific research that can be applied to developing emotionally appealing communications campaigns.

Selling vs Telling: The Power of Aspirational Communications from The Communications Network on Vimeo.

Running time of this episode is 23 minutes. To view selected sections, use this guide to forward to the time indicated:

  • What is aspiration communications and how can it be useful for nonprofits and foundations? (2:22-3:45)
  • How can the framework driving aspirational communications bridge the divide between program staff and communications? (3:45-9:24)
  • What are some examples of this approach? (9:24-21:56)
  • Is aspiration communications more appropriate for some foundations and programs than others? (21:56-23:48)
  • How essential is data when determining the aspirations of your target audience? (23:48-25:44)

Hattaway Communications has  foundations, nonprofits and political groups among its clients. Doug Hattaway was Hillary Clinton’s spokesman during her 2008 presidential run, as well as Al Gore’s spokesman during the 2000 recount. He appears regularly as a public affairs analyst and commentator on CNN, MSNBC and the Fox News Channel.

To Tell or Sell?

To get people to take action, appeal to their emotions and things they care about, says Doug Hattaway, president and CEO of Hattaway Communications, in this video chat.

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