Awareness alone is rarely enough to drive and sustain change. This is true for all development initiatives – whether it be public health, education, or conservation.
At cChange, we recognise this reality and therefore make it our priority to understand the process of making that leap from old to new behaviour, from awareness to action. This is often called social marketing or communications for development. We call change communications.
At the core of our change communications approach are the following tenets:
- Incremental steps accumulate to become the big win. Taking on new practices and more importantly, making sure they stick doesn’t happen overnight. We outline the big change but then break it down into smaller, clearly defined actions that make it easier to adopt. Identifying and celebrating these smaller wins ultimately lead to the end goal of sustained behaviour.
- Understanding motivators and triggers is half the battle. To create a customized and specific pathway for change to happen, we first select who the audience is then we get to know them. There is no such thing as a general public nor is there one blanket approach in successful strategic communication campaigns. Using a combination of literature reviews and interpersonal research (interviews, group discussions, surveys), we find out the unique driving factors that can both prevent and enable a group to implement change. This includes values, networks, and channels of information.
- Set measurable indicators to monitor progress. When breaking down change into a clear roadmap defined by incremental steps, we set a baseline and build in indicators to track success and areas of improvement. As strategic communication practitioners, reach and impact of a campaign is what we look to measure the most. Strong campaign objectives are clearly aligned and complementary to the project’s overarching goals.
- Change is dynamic, not linear. People are complicated, and so it follows, that behaviors can be complicated too. For many different reasons, people can yoyo between practicing new behaviors and reverting back to previous habits. We therefore take an adaptive communications approach in designing change campaigns and materials. Our campaign framework is flexible, ensuring that we can revisit and tailor messages to suit the audience as they move forward and sometimes backward from knowing to doing.
- Strong partnerships are critical to sustain behaviour. As we conduct campaigns, we ensure we work with a wide spectrum of partners so they can learn the methodology through the practical application to the issues and challenges their projects are facing. This is a key part of our learning and capacity development process.
Once are change communications strategy is set, our creative team breathes life into it with the aid of video, animation, graphics, and words to weave seamless compelling campaigns or materials.