Framing Simply Explained: It’s a Matter of Perspective!

Laura Graichen

Thumbnail: Framing
VIDEO With english subtitles

Have you ever wondered why, when faced with two seemingly identical options, you still choose one over another? The secret behind this is the psychological phenomenon of the framing effect. In this blog post you’ll learn what framing is and how to utilize this powerful tool in your everyday life and work.

What Is Framing?

Framing is a psychological phenomenon that influences our decision-making process by providing information in a certain context.

Even when presented with identical information, variations in its formulation can lead to different behavior or decisions.

The phenomenon is based on a cognitive process in which information is automatically and subconsciously linked to emotions and experiences.

3 Types of Framing (incl. Tips)

Playing around with words is an effective communication tool. Especially in advertising and marketing, companies and agencies work specifically to present products and services in the best light possible.

Here are three examples that we often encounter in everyday life:

Risky Choice Framing: The Art of Loss Aversion

Imagine you have to choose between paying for either one pack of spaghetti at the regular price or for three packs of spaghetti for the price of two.

The risky choice framing effect exploits our loss aversion by presenting an option in such a way that not choosing it is perceived as a loss. 

This is because, in order to save money, people tend to choose a supposedly "riskier" offer rather than miss out on an opportunity.

In this case, the "3 for the price of 2" option seems more tempting than just purchasing the one. After all, you get one pack for free – even if you actually spend more money than planned.

Practical tip:
Phrase your message positively and avoid negative connotations. People tend to avoid instances where loss is mentioned.

Goal Framing: Seize Time-Limited Opportunities

"Limited offer – today only!" You must’ve come across these kinds of statements from advertising, one time or another.

Goal framing relies on people making decisions impulsively because of a belief that the option will soon be unavailable. The idea is simple: do it now or you'll miss the opportunity!

Goal framing also applies for the limited availability of products. Statements such as "Limited Edition" convey the feeling that it's best to act now and secure a product before it sells out.

Practical tip:
If you want to present a decision as particularly important or urgent, emphasize the time aspect or the limited availability of the offer.

Attributive Framing: The Art of Word Choice

What sounds more appealing? "Made from 30% recycled bottles" or "Made from only 70% new plastic"?

You might have noticed that the way information is presented influences our perception.

Attributive framing uses the power of word choice to make an offer appear more attractive.

Even if the portion of recycled content is only a small percentage of the total bottle, we ignore the other 70%. Instead, we focus on the positive message and associate the recycling wording with sustainability.

This makes us think: “Great Product!”

Practical tip:
Pay attention to how words evoke associations and emotions. Choose your words carefully to achieve the desired reaction.

Framing as a Simple but Powerful Tool

Advertising and marketing are just two areas in which the framing effect is deliberately used. Framing is also common in the fields of journalism and politics.

For example, people perceive a news reportmore positively when it is framed by two pieces of bad news. Political parties and editorial teams also use this when writing candidate speeches. In both cases, more serious topics are given weight at first and followed by more light hearted and positive messaging.

Evidently, the use of framing is widespread in everyday life. Moreover, it is a powerful tool for influencing decisions.

So be aware, because the right choice of words, emphasizing positive aspects and the clever use of time factors can create the desired frame for your message.

Try it out for yourself and see how framing can change your communication!


FAQ on the Topic

Laura Graichen

Laura Graichen is Product Marketing Manager at Masterplan. She is responsible for the market positioning of our platform and occasionally gets in front of the camera for our tutorials and Masterplan Shorts.

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