There may be nothing more challenging for a PR practitioner than trying to get people to change their minds about a company or subject. A recent post at Institute for PR explores this theory and provides a possible answer.

As the post asserts, PR pros have become adept at establishing strong media relations, engaging influencers, and creating effective messaging campaigns based on segmenting and targeting audiences. But what do you do when that audience disagrees with your message?

Studies have found that trying to change an opinion is no easy task. In fact, in many cases trying to change an opinion can reinforce the original belief. The more information and logic applied to the argument, the more likely the target is to negate the information and cling even harder to their initial opinion. As a result, the PR campaign backfires.

If logic and overwhelming evidence won’t work, how can we create a successful campaign? The post suggests that we need to disassociate the audience from their views. By eliminating the link between their self esteem to the opinion they hold, you allow them to feel less threatened by entertaining another point of view.

Reinforcing an audience’s core values can help break the link between the opinion they have and their self esteem, opening the opportunity to bring new ideas and concepts into play.