Imagine you went into the dentist for your 6-month cleaning and your x-rays revealed a minor gum condition that required surgery. The dentist tells you not to worry- it’s painless and only 2 out of 100 patients lose half their teeth post-surgery.

He keeps talking, but all you can do is picture yourself with no teeth left…

But what if the dentist told you that you needed minor surgery to reverse a gum condition, but you will actually be glad you did it- there’s no pain involved, and 98% of her patients end up with stronger teeth, healthier gums, and overall, a more attractive smile?

You might be more inclined to think about what you would look like with a more attractive smile.

This is the framing effect in action.

The Power in a Frame

As marketers, we need to find the best possible frame to make the information we share meaningful and accessible to those who need to hear it. We also need to find ways to convince consumers to choose our products and services over our competitors.

Similar to pre-framing and re-framing, the Framing Effect is a technique used to present information in a way that will influence our behavior, but using frames of loss and gain to make the content more compelling.

Below are the 4 major categories of the Framing Effect specifically related to branding and marketing that will leverage the psychology behind decision-making, making it a powerful tool for creating messaging that connects with your audience and speaks to their value and goals.

Gain Frames

Gain Framing is simply focusing your message on the positive attributes and outcomes of your products and services- the easiest way to win over your audience when the benefits are easy to demonstrate.

Learn a new skill, advance your career, and dramatically increase your income.

We’ll help you get up 60% more on your tax return.

And as demonstrated in the video ad below, a better life starts with a smile…



Loss Frames

Loss framing speaks to people’s tendency to strongly avoid a loss to acquire a gain. According to Prospect Theory, individuals are more sensitive to minor losses than to minor gains and will risk a significant loss for the possibility of no loss at all. And research shows that if a behavior leads to a more uncertain outcome, then loss-framed messages are more effective. For example, “You will die sooner if you do not quit smoking.” vs. “You’ll live longer if you don’t smoke.”

Here are a few different ways the loss frame can be used:

Don’t waste $50 every month on gas, enroll in our exclusive club membership.

Don’t lose your benefits because you “didn’t know,” call us today!

And, of course, the famous, you snooze,  you lose tactic…

Value Frames

Most people are more likely to get behind a brand when it represents issues they value. Consumers may ignore a product or service with no value frame but then respond when it’s presented as affecting something they care about.

River Island offers a shining example of value framing with their 2018 “Labels are for clothes” campaign. In partnership with Ditch the Label, an anti-bullying non-profit, their ads featured diverse populations wearing River Island’s clothes with statements like “Do not stereotype” and “100% gender-free.”


Goal Frames 

We all strive to improve certain areas of our lives, whether it be our health, relationships, career goals, or financial security. The goals we set for ourselves to do this become the driving forces behind our behaviors and decisions, so framing information in a way that helps or hinders these goals is a powerful way to grab your audience’s attention.


The framing effect can be a fun, creative way to present your content and numbers in a way that will engage your audience and demonstrate your commitment to their priorities, values, and goals. Give it a try; you’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain, no matter how you look at it.



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