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Communicating the Value of North Carolina’s Public Education Systems

The Situation

We were charged with message development in order to communicate the value of maintaining and strengthening North Carolina’s public education systems among parents in a political environment that was driving toward creating a voucher system.

Our Recommendation

Through qualitative and quantitative Motivation Research we identified four “pathways of thought” that motivated parents to support quality public schools, representing four distinct strategic communications options.

The most powerful message acknowledged the twin impact on creating high-quality young adults and a better, more successful society. But a more powerful motivator was how parents benefited from a quality school system. Generating greater support for schools in North Carolina depended on rebuilding the societal contract by providing people with confidence that they didn’t have to choose between personal aspirations and political ones. Here is how we viewed the core of these motivators using the framework of the means-end theory:


Supporting Public Education: Pathway Core using means-end theory


The Outcome

The key to our message development was to address parent values first and social values as a resulting aggregation. We did this by focusing messages on how public education actualizes the full potential of individuals, validates parents and creates social value through increased personal advancement.