Audience Insights: Meet the Persuadables in the UK

Audience Insights: Meet the Persuadables in the UK
Source: Vlad Sargu, Unsplash

We talk a lot about 'The Persuadables', the 69% of people in the UK who are neither climate activists or climate deniers. We call them this because they are still 'persuadable' by both pro-climate and anti-climate groups. This makes them an essential audience to engage with - because they've not yet made up their mind about climate action. Increasing public support for climate-positive policies that limit climate change to within 1.5 degrees Celsius is important for ensuring our politicians listen too.

This guide paints a picture of how most people in the UK feel about climate action, gives advice on how to reach them, and highlights some case studies on who's done it best.

We use segmentation from Climate Outreach's Britain Talks Climate reports to help us understand the different groups that make up 'The Persuadables'. These are:

  • Loyal Nationals
  • Backbone Conservatives
  • Civic Pragmatists
  • Established Liberals
  • Disengaged Battlers

Included in this guide:

Who are the Persuadables? An introduction to the 5 segments that make up this group, what makes them tick, and what unites them.

How can we engage them? Crafting frames that will reach our Persuadables.

Why exclude Progressive Activists & Disengaged Traditionalists?
These segments have largely made up their mind on climate. The Progressive Activists are our supporters and activists, while the Disengaged Traditionalists are likely to be against climate action. Focusing on the other 5 segments helps us reach a majority who are undecided.

Who are the Persuadables?

An introduction to the 5 segments that make up this group, what makes them tick, and what unites them.

While most people are worried about climate change and its effects, some are being left out of the climate conversation. These groups are less likely to see positive stories and feel supportive of climate action, especially if they don't immediately see the benefit to them and their families. Many of these people are older, male, working class or from multi-ethnic communities. Being left out leaves them open to misinformation, because many denier and delayer organisations actively target them to try and persuade them the other way.

What are climate denial and delay tactics?
Check out our Advertising Guide on climate misinformation

The segmentation maps us based on our core beliefs, values and politics, using data from YouGov. ย 

We have summarised the 5 segments below, but you can find more in depth commentary on the Climate Outreach website.

Summary of the 5 segments that make up our Persuadables
How each segment maps on political stance and socioeconomic background. Image sources: Ageing Better, Eye for Ebony, Zane Bolen.

What unites them?

Our segments are distinct from each other according to political stance, economic circumstances and world outlook. However, we also used Global Web Index to find similarities. This is useful for when we are constructing large campaigns that speak to them as a collective, such as national or regional advertising campaigns.

Further reading:
Misinformation Guide: Beware of the Eco Mob:  for advice on how to avoid alarmist language and combat attempts to discredit climate spokespeople.
Advertising Guide on Paid Media: for a deeper dive into what paid media is, why it matters, and how it can help you achieve your aims.
Misinformation Guide on Corporate Greed: for insights into backlash towards anti-windfall tax narratives and how we can use them to supercharge our climate communications.

How can we engage them?

Crafting frames that will reach our Persuadables.

Despite differences in income, lifestyle, and attitudes, there's still lots of common ground to appeal to. Read our reframing guide for in depth guidance on constructing frames and narratives that appeal to more than one segment.

What are frames?
The way a story, issue or argument is presented. It helps us interpret what we see and form our own narratives. A frame affects whether we think an issue is important, whether we think of it as a personal problem or a shared social concern, and the solutions we support.

1. Health

All segments care about the NHS and understand climate issues on a personal level, particularly affects on their family, and the places they live. Health frames related to air pollution, healthier futures, and reducing stress on the NHS are likely to capture them.

Healthier places and people: Protecting our planet means cleaner air, water and local environments, ensuring healthier, happy futures for our families and reducing strain on the NHS.

Activia brings to life what healthy 'feels' like, channelling feelings of joy, freedom and energy. Rooted in the great outdoors and helped with the addition of furry friends, this type of creative is likely to appeal to all segments.

2. Opportunity

Wealthier, more conservative segments like Backbone Conservatives and the Established Liberals, are open to frames that position renewable energy as a political opportunity for Britain to lead on the global stage.

Strengthening Britain's place on the global stage: Green innovation is an opportunity for Britain to lead the next technological revolution, boosting the economy, international relationships and creating opportunities for all.

Opportunity frames can also be used to hark back to traditional industry, which appeals to nostalgic Loyal Nationals. They showcase the tangible benefits of job creation that will appeal to Disengaged Battlers, and people orientated Civic Pragmatists.

Opportunities a plenty: The renewable energy industry is helping Britain get back to its industrial roots. It will create plenty of jobs and help people across the UK embrace new skills and make lifelong connections.

This spot from Morrisons evokes British pride, connection to 'good hard work' and feeling of belonging that is likely to resonate strongly with Loyal Nationals and Disengaged Battlers.

3. Community

Bringing people together, inspiring philanthropy, and revitalising local areas are actions which will appeal to our altruistic segments: Civic Pragmatists, Backbone Conservatives and Established Liberals.

Towards a better collective future: Climate action brings communities together through the things they care about, working towards a better future, and revitalising communities in the progress.

The Co-op's summer advert focuses on benefits to local communities. They showcase realistic slices of everyday life, from grassroots projects to school concerts, creating positive feelings of togetherness.

4. Wildlife Conservation

Conserving natural environments is likely to appeal to all segments in some way, through a shared love for wildlife (David Attenborough is an icon), and sense of British pride in our countryside. This is especially the case for our rural segments: Backbone Conservatives and Established Liberals.

Protecting wildlife: Climate action now will help us protect our Great British countryside and conserve amazing wildlife across the world.

This spot from Jordan's captures feelings of pride in the British countryside, introducing us to all the wildlife and reminding us of the natural environments that mean something to us. This will resonate with Backbone Conservatives and Established Liberals.

Up next
Keep your eyed peeled for part two which will go deeper into each segment's media habits, demographics and interests. Helping you craft the best targeted campaigns to reach them.
Further reading:
Advertising Guide on Reframing: crafting compelling frames and narratives
Advertising Guide on Paid Media: for a deep dive into what paid media is, why it matters, and how it can help you achieve your aims.
Misinformation Guide on Fact, Myth and Fallacy:  for advice on how to use this handy model to craft messages and attack specific misinformation.