Behaviour Change Campaigns: A Nudge in the Right Direction
Humans are stubborn, we’re creatures of habit, and we’re also not great at responding to long-term problems, but that’s not entirely our fault though. The ancient monkey part of our brain spent the best part of 1 million years becoming very good at identifying immediate threats and responding to them because it was crucial to our survival.
While it was useful for our cave-dwelling ancestors to quickly identify why the bad fire is ouchy, today however this same survival mechanism is working against us.
When presented with an existential threat like climate change, the immediate effects of which aren’t obvious, our brains just can’t seem to recognise the threat for what it is. It’s a bit like the frog sitting in boiling water scenario.
The ancient part of the brain collides with the modern, and we’re left with errors in rational thinking called “cognitive biases”. I won’t go into them here but check out this interesting article on BBC Future that lists a few of these cognitive biases. It does a great job explaining why cognitive biases seem hell-bent on stopping us from properly addressing climate change.
But despite everything, it’s not all doom and gloom, because the science of behaviour change can help nudge us all in the right direction – but what is behaviour change exactly?
Just as it sounds, it’s a method of changing people’s behaviour based on understanding how and why people behave in the manner in which they do. While cognitive biases do certainly play a part in this, there is another part in this too. It comes from understanding that for the majority of us, there is a disconnect between knowing we should do something and actually doing it.
So rather than fighting against how humans approach certain behaviours, the science of behaviour change tries to find solutions that work with these behaviours to result in the desired change – clever, right?
One of the ways behaviour change can help nudge people in the right direction is through adapting something called the EAST framework. It stands for Easy, Attractive, Social, and Timely – this is how it’s broken down:
- Easy – Any given behaviour change message should be simplified and broken down to provide a clear course of action.
- Attractive – Provide incentives. Make the desired behaviour change worth people’s while. Stand out by catching the attention of others.
- Social – Normalise the behaviour specific to a group of people and their peers via testimonials, networks, and commitments.
- Timely – Help people bridge the gap between intention and action by reaching them at the most opportune time when people are on the cusp of making a decision.
The framework was developed by the Behavioural Insights Team in addition to a handy process for local councils and policy makers to enact the framework in the most effective manner: –
“Define the outcome: identify the desired behaviour and consider how it might be measured and what results it would give you.
Understand the context: Explore the environment and empathise with the people who you wish to impact.
Build your intervention: Use the EAST Framework to apply behavioural insights.
Test, learn, adapt: Apply the intervention iteratively, with feedback loops to gain and apply learning. Ideally use split testing to compare the impact with a control group.”
The need for delivering behaviour change campaigns is growing every day. Local councils and policy makers are now actively trying to find solutions to the climate problem we face. As such, it’s important for us to develop necessary skills to enact these campaigns to great effect.
A few members of the Ubiquity team have taken courses in behaviour change as part of their ongoing personal development. This means we’re now in the best possible position as an agency to carry out any effective behaviour change campaigns.
Get in touch with us on 02922409700 or drop us an email at email@example.com and see how we can help you with your behaviour change initiatives.