Conflict…Talk About It, Part 2

The Source of Conflict

Air Force Maj. Michele A. Gill with the Joint Advertising, Market Research and Studies program believes that it was more common to enlist in the military in past generations because many parents served and children often grew up around veterans. She says, “There are a lot of parents in today’s generation who have not served in the military, so there could be a lack of information out there about what the military has to offer. Maybe the only thing they know about the military is what they see on the movies or in the news.”

The presumption within Gill’s statement is that parents are more inclined to encourage their children to seek a college education or vocational training. The consideration of military service is therefore a conflict with their beliefs.

Parents as Decision Makers

The marketing campaign targets the middle-aged parents of young adults between 17 and 22 years old.

Gill says, “There are few things as influential as the parents’ advice and support. That’s why we want parents to know the facts [about military service]. My parents were definitely a part of that decision-making process. I wanted their support. I wanted their advice. If they would have highly discouraged it, I probably wouldn’t have gone into the military.”

Knowing the Facts

Gill says, “Military service can be a difficult subject to broach. That’s why it’s important for parents to know the facts. … Our goal … is to educate the families and give them a reliable, honest look at what the military has to offer, and even some of the risks that are involved, … just to help them make a wise decision.”

A Frank and Honest Discussion

Matt Boehmer, Director of Joint Advertising, Market Research and Studies, says “We can remind parents that if their son or daughter wants to serve, having the right information and talking about it is always a good idea. If our campaign can do that in an honest, respectful and empathetic voice, perhaps we can encourage families to have an open dialogue during the decision-making process.”

“We want the conversation to happen between the parent and the young person regardless of whether the young person decides to join the military or not,” Gill says. “We want to encourage parents to really listen to their son or daughter…”

Gill continues, “Just the fact that they’re having the conversation is ‘mission accomplished’ for us.”

What can you learn from the military’s marketing campaign in terms of conflict management in your own life?

1. Identify and understand the source of conflict;
2. Identify the decision makers and understand their interests and concerns;
3. Clarify that every decision maker is working with the same set of facts; and
4. Encourage a frank and honest discussion about everyone’s interests and concerns before taking any positions.

     Posted on August 1, 2009 at 2:25 pm | No comment

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