What marketers can learn from Greta Thunberg’s SAVAGE Speech at the U.N. Climate Action Summit (and how to apply it)

Sean Vosler
3 min readSep 23, 2019
Greta Thunberg
original photo credit: World Economic Forum — Design My Own

Sept 23, 2019 — Sean Vosler — Author: 7 Figure Marketing Copy Guide

IF you’re selling anything — you are first of all — selling an idea.

Leave your politics at the door with this post, it’s not about who’s right or who’s wrong it’s about how to build a powerful argument for what you believe… which is what marketing [branding & copywriting] is often about.

Below are my notes from a speech given by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg at the UN discussing climate change.

She did something remarkable in the way she framed the issue.
Something I know marketers can learn a great deal from.

First, let’s take a look at her speech, I’ve added some notes (highlighted) but the main thing I want you to focus on is the way she reframes the debate…

The Address (with my notes added)

Link to google doc version if issues with the display.

Notice how she reframed the debate from “is climate change happening or not, and what are its possible effects” (which is a common form of this debate) to “how are you going to live with yourself, and how will your children ever forgive you if you don’t act”…

This transition of frame is something you can do when crafting your marketing. Especially in pieces where you’re looking to build a powerful argument for why someone needs to buy your product or service.

To change your frame just complete the following sentence: It’s not just about XYZ — it’s more than that, it’s about ZYX.

XYZ = the core concern your product/service addresses

ZYX = the bigger “universal issue” at stake

For example:

“It’s not about just investing in your business [XYZ], it’s about not looking back with regrets on your decisions [ZYX].”

“It’s not just about buying a new car [XYZ], it’s about buying one that’s designed to protect your family if the worst were to happen.”

“It’s not just about creating a website for your business, it’s about building a complete lead to sales system designed specifically to help you increase sales.”

Think about what the bigger stakes for your audience are as it relates to your product or service, what ‘higher stakes’ could you introduce to make the matter weigh heavier on their mind? What are you really selling?

Below is a framework I’ve been using for years now based on the ‘change the frame’ principle. I call it “The Contrarian Copy Structure”, and you can use it as a conceptual outline whenever you’re writing content that needs to persuade…

Do me a fav… Drop a clap if you think you’ll find some use for this strategy in your own writing!

— Sean Vosler — Author: 7 Figure Marketing Copy Guide

Interested in seeing more examples of how to use different frameworks like the one below? Check out my free guide (no opt-in required) — “The Imitation Game” How to Quickly Craft Engaging Copy by Harnessing the Structure of Trending Content — you’ll find it about halfway down the page :)