Persuasive communication

Centre for Language Studies | Faculty of Arts | Radboud University Nijmegen

Annemarie van Hekken

PhD candidate


Annemarie van Hekken is investigating the effectiveness of persuasive message strategies in retirement communication to empower citizens to plan for retirement. Most people have no idea how much money they will need when they retire. They do not prepare well, or at all, for their retirement, and their expectations are often unrealistically high given the amount of pension they can accumulate via their pension plan. The general feeling is that planning for retirement is difficult. Are planning behaviour and the underlying beliefs amenable to change with persuasive message strategies? When people think retirement communication is honest, have a positive attitude towards retirement and think they cán plan for retirement, actual planning behaviour is more likely.

She analyzed the complete corpora of 16 Dutch pension funds for the presence of persuasive messages and assessed the level of readability. Furthermore, she conducted surveys among the participants of the pension funds. A third study focused on the use of imagery. Is it possible to convey the basics of retirement accrual change beliefs about pension with a visual metaphor? For this purpose she developed the navigation metaphor, depicting the road from the current accrual to the expected outcomes in case of a good, bad and neutral scenario.


As an external PhD candidate, Annemarie combines research with working in the field. For the past 16 years she has been working as a retirement communication specialist.