Usually only one situation causes confusion between a strategic message and a frame: the desire to persuade individuals to support a certain point of view related to politics or public policy. Either may be employed when that is the goal.
In addition, both framing and messaging use words exclusively and seek to leave the listener or reader with a point of view about a specific issue that arises partly from emotion and partly from intellect.
However, there are more differences than similarities between the two. To name a few:
• The message development process can be accomplished in weeks whereas frame development takes months.
• Framing usually involves market research and market testing. Messaging often involves neither.
• Framing usually seeks to make people think of an issue from a totally new perspective – “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are different ways of framing the abortion issue. Messaging does not usually seek to do that.
• Framing research can inform message development, but the reverse does not happen.