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Five Ways to Help Encourage Behavioral Change from Unilever

Green or sustainable marketing is largely focused on behavioral change. Univlever has developed a model with five ways to frame sustainability messaging so as to encourage the behavior change that your brand desires. The infographic below illustrates the five ways.

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The first and most important is Make it Understood. If behavior change is desired, the consumers need to understand why they should change their ways.

The words selected to convey the message need to be well thought out and carefully chosen. The best words will be specific and convey concrete ideas. It is also important to articulate exactly why the consumer needs to change their behavior.

Studies show that people are much more receptive to doing what you ask them if you provide them with a rational reason why. If the message conveys exactly what solution is provided by the changed action, people are much more likely to take part in the behavioral change.

The second is Make it Easy. This one is also very important. After consumers are inspired to alter their behavior, actually getting them to do it is more difficult. If you make the action easy for them, they are more likely to do it.

It’s hard enough to remember to do something new, but if it’s difficult it’s even harder to remember. A great example is of reusable grocery bags. I have about 20 of them, but remembering to take them into the store or back out to my car after I carry my groceries in is a totally different story.

The third is Make it Desireable. Not only should the action or product be socially, financially or environmentally savvy, it should also be something that the consumer actually wants. This is the only way to achieve behavioral change.

Think about your target audience—from what do they derive value?

What competitive advantage does your product hold in the consumer’s eyes? Remind them, and remind them of the action or product’s value whenever possible.

The fourth is Make it Rewarding. This is where you can get creative. As much as everyone enjoys physical rewards, they can also come in the form of emotional satisfaction. The emotional rewards can be the good feeling associated with making good decisions or the confidence that comes with completing an action that you desire to complete, among others.

The fifth is Make it a Habbit.  To truly call the results of your marketing action behavioral change, the desired consumer behavior needs to be sustained over a period of time. Turning new actions into habits can be done with positive reinforcement or simply repition.

Try to determine what specifically encouraged the change. What about that can act as reinforcement or repetition? A wonderful example of an action that builds consumer habits is that of credit card companies that offer points for purchases.

Through rewards, credit card companies can encourage consumers to build the habit of purchasing needs with their card. Consumers derive value from the points they gain and the companies derive value from the consumers experiencing what it’s like to make most of their purchases on their card.

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