How do differing opinions on safety and protection impact people’s actions?
Each year in the US there are nearly 30,000 gun deaths, 70,000 gun injuries, and 355 mass shootings in 2015.
And the average person thinks that this is a serious problem.
81% Top 10 Average and 75% Middle Average are very concerned about gun violence.
But when asked, Middle Average is twice as likely as Top 10 Average to believe that more guns in people’s hands will help prevent gun violence.
And approximately the same percent of both Top 10 and Middle Average that believe more guns make us safer from gun violence (22%& 42%), are gun owners themselves.
But depending on where you live, you’re probably thinking about either Top 10 Average or Middle Average must be crazy or just plain stupid… but I don’t want to talk about the merits or fallacies of gun control, we’re here to be empathic, so let’s take a second to be judgment free.
We all inherently do what’s best for ourselves, so what is causing such drastically different opinions on whether more or fewer guns are best?
There are obviously different laws in place in different places that can impact beliefs, but I suggest the real reason for this is social, and the way that behavior changes as people are put into larger groups.
As the size of a group grows, the need for management increases. And so Middle Average has more incentive to be self-sufficient, and feel more empowered with a gun at home than a law on the books, while Top 10 Average, who lives in areas with greater population density has more incentive to see the benefit of trusting in government to help manage gun violence, creating laws that they hope will take guns out of people’s hands that might commit crimes.
And this management is also the same reason we see Top 10 average more likely to be taking steps to prevent climate change, despite fairly consistent views on the fact that it’s a legitimate threat.
It has nothing to do with being more conscientious or caring, we all do what’s best for ourselves, and Top 10 Average is getting incentives to behave this way.
So 33% vs. 23% claim to use more environmentally friendly transportation options because things like inexpensive public transportation are offered, and parking is more scarce and costly.
And 75% vs. 66% claim to make an effort to recycle; but in those markets there are incentives like widespread recycling or bottle deposits that offer a financial benefit.
And so in a world where people inherently do what is best for themselves, management and incentives are shifting the collective behavior of Top 10 Average, more so than Middle Average.
What this means:
But the point of marketing and advertising is that we’re always trying to change a large groups behavior. So to truly be successful, whether your target audience is more Top 10 Average or Middle Average, the first thing is to understand what incentives are causing their current behavior, and then you can offer incentives that change it.