How to Change Behaviour
Redbird follows a step-by-step process to change behaviour, like we did with members of BC's South Asian community, shown above. If you're not ready to work with an agency, you can follow these steps yourself.
Step 1: Briefing
Start by asking questions: who is your target audience (demographics and psychographics), and exactly what behaviour are you trying to change? Be specific. Your goal shouldn’t be to make people “live a healthier lifestyle” – perhaps it’s to encourage them to walk for 30 minutes three times a week or eat five vegetables daily. Identify the scope and parameters of the project: the geographical area, the timelines, and the budget.
Step 2: Behaviour Change Workshop
Assemble a focus group that includes members of your target audience – and gather intelligence about their cultural or generational attitudes towards the desired behaviour, the barriers they may perceive to doing it, and the benefits of changing their behaviour. Do some brainstorming about imagery and messaging, and don’t forget the call to action.
Step 3: Primary Research
If possible, do some primary research to benchmark the behaviours of your target audience, and also confirm the benefits and barriers you hypothesized in the workshop. For example, if you’re trying to reduce energy consumption, your group may have speculated that students don’t turn off the classroom lights when they leave because they’re forgetful, or they just don’t care. In your research you may learn that they leave the lights on so they feel safer when they leave at night. Know your limits. Do-it-yourself research can send you down the garden path if it’s not designed properly.
Step 4: Secondary Research
Don’t forget the secondary research -- a scan of the literature and the internet to identify similar campaigns done elsewhere. Why reinvent the wheel when you can learn from others?
Step 5: Campaign Plan
Now it’s time to put it all in writing. State your objectives, describe your target audience, and describe the learnings from the workshop and the research. Decide on strategies that will help you change behaviour and achieve your objectives. If a barrier to behaviour change is lack of knowledge, then start by raising awareness. If everybody is already aware of the facts, then design prompts, norms, competitions, incentives, ritual, small changes, and fun that will help them change. And identify costs and timelines required to execute the plan.
Step 6: Creative Concepts and Executions
Behaviour change campaigns often involve creative materials, though not to the extent that awareness campaigns do. Perhaps you want a prompt to remind people to turn off the water while brushing their teeth – you might design a clever (and waterproof) card that hangs on the faucet. Remember that collateral materials have a shelf life. After people have seen it for a few weeks, they will stop noticing it. Time for a new one.
Step 7: Results
To evaluate the success of your campaign, make sure you assign metrics to every tactic. It might be Google Analytics, before and after surveys, number of pledges made, number of kilowatt hours saved, number of vegetables eaten or bus passes purchased. Measure it, track it, and analyze it, so you know what to change next time.