For 4 years the best messages the music industry could dream up to deter illegal downloading was “it’s illegal!” and “artists should get paid for their work!”
Neither was effective on young tech rebels who knew the former and didn’t care about the latter. When Steve Jobs launched iTunes in 2003, he tried a different approach:
“If you go to Kazaa and you try to find a song, you don’t find a single song. You find 50 versions of that song, and you have to pick which one to try to download, and usually it’s not a very good connection. You have to try another one, and by the time you finally get a clean version of the song you want, it takes about 15 minutes. If you do the math, that means that you’re spending an hour to download four songs that you could buy for under $4 from Apple, which means you’re working for under minimum wage.”
Here the coding of the message changed from ‘you’re breaking the laws of grown-ups’ (which the audience ignored) to one of self-respect (‘you’re working for less than minimum wage!’).
It turns out the kids care quite a lot about working for less than minimum wage. Who wants to be taken advantage of like that?
You can’t construct messages to change group behavior without truly understanding the values of the group. Values lead to beliefs, beliefs lead to justification for actions.
If you can’t encode a message in the right values, you can’t affect the beliefs and won’t change the actions. And actions are the ultimate goal of our work.