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Storytelling for the vaccine: the story that can save your life

Up to 50% of the population say they would not get the COVID vaccine. A theory explains this paradox and storytelling plays an essential role in it.



Up to 50% of the population say they would not get the COVID vaccine. A theory explains this paradox and storytelling plays an essential role in it.

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December 30, 2020 10 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

  • The story of someone you trust can save your life or quarantine you for many months.
  • If your friend who has already been vaccinated tells you that the medicine works, you will go for the vaccination.
  • There are ideological currents that, out of ignorance, slander or look for conspiracy theories where there is none. Better listen to the doctor.

These days many countries have started their vaccination campaigns against COVID-19 . I am happy. First, because many lives will be saved. Second, because at last we have something that can return us to the longed for normality. And third, because humanity has shown that, when it wants, it can cooperate to overcome great challenges.

The saving vaccine paradox

We should be optimistic. But half of my friends and family are fearful or mistrustful. Some tell me they don’t want to be among the first to receive treatment. Others, who will not be vaccinated under any circumstances. We are faced with a paradox: having already the cure, there are those who fear it as much or more than the disease itself.

Maybe you know people like that in your environment. For what it’s worth, it’s a worldwide phenomenon. In September, the Pew Research Center found that 49% of the US population was unwilling to get the vaccine right away. And in Spain, the Sociological Research Center calculated that the proportion of these people grew from 40.3%, in September, to 47%, in November.

The truth is that in many democratic countries vaccination is not compulsory, so for the campaign to be effective, people must want to be vaccinated. And the less we take to convince ourselves, the faster we will achieve “herd immunity” . So what can we do to combat fear and rejection from these people?

Rogers theory

The answer to the question has to do with an already classic theory and with social storytelling. In the 1950s, the sociologist Everett M. Rogers studied the agricultural industry in the United States and discovered that there were innovations that local producers adopted more quickly than others. In 1962, he published a theory that went around the world: that of the “Diffusion of Innovations .”

It goes more or less like this: whenever an innovation appears in a society of well-communicated people, five attitudes can be expected that will manifest themselves successively and over time. These are:

  • That of innovative or pioneering people . They are the ones who, without hesitation, will embrace innovation the minute it becomes available.
  • That of the first followers . They are the group of those who could not be pioneers, but who will readily accept that they can.
  • That of the precocious majority . A massive group waiting to see how the previous two groups are doing with innovation.
  • That of the late majority . Another massive group, but reluctant (or without access) to innovation.
  • That of the laggards . People who will not accept innovation for fear of change or mistrust.

Rogers estimated the percentage of the population for each attitude (see graph below) and subsequent studies showed that the same pattern was common in settings, industries, and countries around the world.

Theory of Diffusion of Innovations by Rogers (1962) and critical leap by Moore (1991) / De Plc.gif: Original creator Vvdberg at nl.wikipedia. Derivative work: Osado – Plc.gif, CC BY-SA 3.0

A theory with limitations and critics

Nowadays, academics from economics, sociology, or marketing accept the model and apply it to demographic and market studies. Popular culture has accepted it too, as a famous video by Simon Sinek shows .

As a theory, it has not been definitively proven or refuted. In fact, it has been proven that it cannot be applied to certain systems and that it is not enough to explain how some commercial products succeed (the iPhone, for example) and others fail ( the DeLorean , for example). But in 1991, Geoffrey Moore backed up the idea by developing an explanation of why it doesn’t always work and how to overcome the limitation.

I believe that Rogers theory is applicable to the case of vaccines. And that summarizes why almost half of the people in many countries say that they do not want to be the first: it is because they are part of the “late majority” and the “laggards” that, as the previous graph shows, account for 50% of people.

The theory in practice

In democratic countries, where (I insist) getting vaccinated is not mandatory, Rogers’ model predicts that 2.5% of the population will naturally feel “pioneer” and will volunteer within hours of starting the vaccination campaign. They are people who will ask their doctor where they can be treated, even before the first doses arrive in the country. They will do it because they are brave, or because they feel responsible for themselves and others. There will also be those who like to be up to date with everything.

But when the pioneers show that they are still healthy and that the vaccine did not harm them, the “first followers” will arrive. They will not have to be called: they will also volunteer themselves, or ask everywhere when it is their turn. They will line up quite long and offer money (or time) to be vaccinated. And when they do, another 13.5% more of the population will be added to the list of those vaccinated.

Now, what makes an innovation succeed or fail?

This is where the Rogers theory (and the vaccination campaign) comes into play. Earlier I mentioned Geoffrey Moore. He discovered that the success or failure of disruptive innovations (the vaccine is) is determined at a critical point: that of the leap from the “first followers” to the “early majority.”

If the latter accept the innovation, then the vaccine will reach 50% of the population and success will be practically certain. But if not, failure will inevitably follow. Well, what makes the early majority adopt innovation?

Very simple: storytelling! In other words, the story that the “first followers” will tell others about how the experience was for them. That will make the early majorities believe (or not) that the vaccine works.

So forget what the politician or the TV news says. If your brother and friend who have already been vaccinated tell you that the medicine works, you will go to get vaccinated. Because you will see that it works for them and you will not want to be different.

The other way around: if your vaccinated friend tells you that the treatment is not working for him, or that he was treated poorly, or that the substance caused him serious pain, you will not accept the medicine. As simple (and complex) as this: the story of someone you trust can save your life or keep you in quarantine for many months .

What’s the lesson in terms of storytelling?

When getting vaccinated is a voluntary option and it is necessary for people to quickly convince themselves to do so, it is essential to build stories that give confidence. Especially to motivate the “pioneers” and the “first followers” to try.

But then, in the interest of all, we must facilitate communication between these two groups and those who have misgivings. And, in this, I think that we all play a critical role: political authorities, scientists, media and producers of the vaccine. But also you and me, as citizens.

When the authorities, the scientific community and the media spread the success stories and normalize the image of the vaccine, they do a great job. Manufacturers who report favorable and certified results for their products do well too. In Spain, the percentage of people who say they would not take the vaccine decreased to 28% in December. And that is a success.

But you and I also have a role. You should know that every time you share a joke, a cartoon or a meme about the vaccine on your social networks, or that you send cynical comments without having the slightest idea of what you are saying, you contribute to making the “precocious majority” feel less confident and it takes longer to get vaccinated. You are helping the virus to last.

You should also know that there are political groups, lobbies and ideological currents that, from absolute ignorance, slander or seek conspiracy theories where there is none. Their interests are evil and they pursue power and influence, if not evil for evil’s sake.

Better ignore them. Better still if you don’t give them any space in your conversations. Rather listen to your doctor first.




Have You Stashed Too Much Money in Your Emergency Fund?

Think you’re totally set with a full year of expenses set aside in an emergency fund? Hold up. You might have too much socked into liquid assets. Read on to learn more about how much is too much for your emergency fund.



Think you’re totally set with a full year of expenses set aside in an emergency fund? Hold up. You might have too much socked into liquid assets. Read on to learn more about how much is too much for your emergency fund.

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June 10, 2021 6 min read

This story originally appeared on MarketBeat

Last year heralded the case for a robust emergency fund. As people lost jobs left and right due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you probably checked and double-checked your emergency fund (I know I did).

However, have you ever thought about how so much of a good thing can be just that — too much? Your emergency fund could end up way too plump.

Where People Usually Put Their Emergency Funds

Where do most people stash money in order for it to remain truly accessible? Most people put their funds in one of the following categories:

  • High-yield savings accounts: You usually find high-yield savings accounts at online banks, not at brick-and-mortar banking institutions. (They don’t have much overhead due to their status as online banks, so they can offer higher returns.) High-yield savings accounts usually earn around 0.50% annual percentage yield (APY).
  • Money market accounts: A money market account, also called a money market deposit account, offers a deposit account that pays you interest based on current interest rates in the money markets. You can find money market accounts at local banks. Money market accounts often come with a debit card and check-writing capabilities.
  • Checking or savings accounts: You won’t earn much interest with checking or savings accounts at a brick-and-mortar bank. Earnings for both of these types of accounts can range from 0.03% to 0.04%. However, you can access your money at any time, which means that these accounts offer major liquidity.

Any of these options make sense because you can easily get your money out when you need it. However, if you put too much money into any one of these, you could risk a lack of growth and put yourself at a disadvantage, tax-wise.

Before you choose the right vehicle for you, check rates, fees and withdrawal rules.

Too Much of a Good Thing Can Be Too Much

Emergency savings offers so many great things — to a point. Let’s take a look at the downsides to putting an overly large amount in your emergency fund.

Downside 1: Your money may not grow.

Where do people usually park an emergency fund?

Somewhere liquid and highly accessible, like a money market account or a high-yield savings account, right? You want to have access to that money the second your boss says, “Sorry, but I have some bad news…”

Here’s the deal. Let’s say you save $1,000 at 0.01% APY. After a year, you’ll end up with just $1,000.10. If you put the same $1,000 in a retirement account that earns 6%, you would earn $1,062 after a year. See how you could lose out?

Most accounts that offer a safe haven for your money often don’t offer ample returns.

The average stock market return hovers around 7%, three times higher than any high-yield savings account rate offered anywhere today.

Downside 2: You could lose out on the tax front.

When you focus on saving in your emergency fund too much, you may neglect your tax-advantaged retirement accounts, which could include 401(k) plans, IRAs, 457 plans or 403(b) accounts.

Let’s say you have the opportunity to contribute $6,000 into a traditional IRA. Your contributions get deducted from your taxable income. You would only pay taxes on the remaining balance.

Let’s say you make $60,000 per year. Your taxable income automatically gets reduced $6,000 to $54,000 from your traditional IRA tax deduction.

What happens when you save your money in a high-yield savings account instead of a tax-advantaged account? You miss out on that reduced taxed income.

Downside 3: You may not clear out your debt.

You may hear so much about the importance of emergency funds that you ignore the fact that you still need to pay off debt. That begs the question: What kind of debt do you have? Credit card debt? Student loan debt? You may want to pay down those debts first and then tackle your emergency fund. Or you can save $1,000 for emergencies to start out and then tackle any outstanding debt.

Downside 4: You may sacrifice other goals.

When you don’t contribute to your kids’ savings accounts, to your own retirement or maybe even save for a down payment on a house, stop and ask yourself why.

A gargantuan emergency savings might not mean much when you’re stuck putting a vacation on a credit card or forgoing a child’s college savings account altogether.

So… How Much Should Go in Your Emergency Fund?

Obviously, this answer depends on a few factors, including your current income amount. Many financial experts advise saving three to six months’ worth of living expenses.

For example, let’s say you generally spend about $4,000 per month on general expenditures, such as your mortgage payment, utilities, food, health care premiums and other items. You should save between $12,000 and $24,000.

However, you may want to adopt the 3/6/9 rule instead, depending on your job situation. In other words, you may want to:

  • Save three months of expenses if you have a steady paycheck, have no mortgage or dependents.
  • Save six months of expenses if you have a steady paycheck, have a mortgage or dependents.
  • Save nine months of expenses if you have irregular income or if you are the only one in your family who earns money.

How Much Equals Too Much in Your Emergency Fund?

As you can see, it’s easy to have too much in your emergency fund. If you find that you’ve stashed more than six months’ worth of emergency money in your account and have a steady paycheck, no mortgage or dependents, ease up.

Carefully consider whether you have too much in your account based on the stability of your income and the number of people depending on you. You may also consider the level of support you receive from others. (Your parents might love it if your family moved in if it came down to it!)

When you do decide on the right amount, automate transfers so they occur each and every week or month. That way, you don’t have to think about saving — it just happens.

Featured Article: What is an overbought condition?



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How to give good feedback to your collaborators?

The feedback process must be close and continuous.



The feedback process must be close and continuous.

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June 8, 2021 1 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

This story originally appeared on Querido Dinero

Feedback is the analysis of a person from different perspectives to show what they do very well and accelerate their professional career, but also what they need to improve because it slows their growth.

The difference with the evaluation of results is that the feedback process must be close and continuous, and when implemented correctly it generates relationships of trust .

We tell you how to make it a natural practice in your company:

The difference with the evaluation of results is that the feedback process must be close and continuous, and when implemented correctly it generates relationships of trust .



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If You’re Using These Marketing Tactics, You’re Hurting Your Brand’s Credibility

You’ll need good marketing to increase sales in your business, so have a solid strategy.



You’ll need good marketing to increase sales in your business, so have a solid strategy.

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June 5, 2021 4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Entrepreneurs are always hungry for new clients and growth strategies that work. The online gurus know this, so they use emotional-trigger-based marketing tactics to convince business leaders to buy their courses or services. These questionable marketing tactics tend to lead to refund requests, chargebacks and consumers that won’t do business with them again.

Even if you provide something of value, how you market it will affect your sales depending on your approach. As you build out your marketing strategy, avoid these three commonly used marketing tactics because they tie you to a culture of bro-marketing and online gurus. Consider a different approach before these tactics detail your business growth.

Related: 4 Annoying Online Marketing Tactics to Stop Right Now

1. Displaying revenue screenshots.

These days, it’s common for entrepreneurs to display Stripe or PayPal revenue screenshots on social media, or even on their websites. There’s no doubt that consumers are drawn to seeing sales and big numbers. But it’s a toxic marketing strategy — it may generate sales in the short term, but it repels high-end clients and more potential customers in the long term.

The consumers who buy based on what they see in revenue screenshots tend to be in a challenging financial position and need to generate income quickly. They aren’t in the place to focus on what it takes to do the work that increases revenue, and they end up disappointed when they buy as a result of flashy marketing.

Real wealth and growth don’t self-advertise. Have you ever seen business leaders such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or Oprah post revenue screenshots? The results that your customers experience are a better way to market your business. Publish solid content and you can nurture cold prospects. Separate yourself from guru marketing by relentlessly focusing on serving your customers.

Related: 6 Outdated Marketing Tactics You Need to Leave in the Past (Where They Belong)

2. Sharing client wins with no attribution.

Have you ever seen an entrepreneur posting about clients getting X results, but they never name or tag the clients? The clients they’re posting about may very well be experiencing wins, but in a guru marketing world, the consumer is skeptical.

Some clients would prefer to remain private and not share their information — that’s understandable. But, more than a few of your clients would welcome a shout-out. You have clients that are comfortable with you sharing their wins. The only way to know for sure is to ask.

The goal is to show what your business offers, and you can do this by sharing your clients’ results and testimonials. Get permission where possible — don’t just share wins that don’t appear real to cold consumers.

Related: 3 Marketing Tactics to Avoid Next Year

3. Marketing results from years ago.

Over your years of building a business, you’ll no doubt experience wins. You’ll get results that consumers and colleagues will want to know more about. In marketing, your goal is to prove that your philosophy does work — mainly through marketing the results you and your clients have experienced.

However, growth-focused entrepreneurs stay at the forefront of their industries. They don’t get a result and market those wins for years without working on getting more results. It’s acceptable to market the results you’ve obtained in the past, but ask yourself if you continue to do the work that helps you grow.

When cold prospects see that your marketing results are old, it will dissuade them from doing business with you. Consumers want to do business with industry leaders, and you become a leader by constantly honing the work you’re putting into your craft. One of the best ways to grow a business is by doing the work that optimizes your personal growth. Commit to becoming the best at what you do.

If you’re going to increase sales in your business, you’ll need good marketing. However, there’s a way to market your business more authentically. Avoid tactics that may work for a little while but will ultimately hurt your brand credibility.

Related: 7 Ways to Correct a Failing Marketing Strategy



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