Thursday 5 November 2015

Bridging the Gap Between Attitude and Action

“Thinking is easy, acting difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action the most difficult thing in the world.” Goethe 

Community-Based Social Marketing 
One hundred per cent of Canadians think it’s a good idea to donate blood. One hundred per cent know why it’s important to donate blood. But less than 4% of Canadians actually donate blood. Why?

As Ken Donnelly, a practitioner with over 20 years of experience in community-based social marketing, explained at an Oct. 30 workshop sponsored by the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan, there is a gap between attitude and awareness and behaviour that is extremely difficult to bridge.

Community-based social marketing (CBSM), as developed by Dr. Doug McKenzie-Mohr, applies behavioural psychology to environmental program promotion. It focuses on behaviour and emphasizes social contact. The CBSM toolbox incorporates research, small questions, prompts, commitment strategies, norms, and effective communications.

It’s impossible to summarize a full-day presentation in a short article; however, you can find some excellent online resources:

Fostering Sustainable Behavior: Community-Based Social Marketing: Doug McKenzie-More, a psychology professor at St. Thomas University, is the founder of community-based social marketing. His website provides articles, case studies, a discussion forum, and a free online copy of his first book.

Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing, McKenzie-More’s most recent book, is available from libraries in Saskatchewan.

Beyond Attitude: Ken Donnelly has employed CBSM principles in his consulting work to address a wide range of environmental concerns. His online blog/website contains a wealth of useful tips and best practices.

Tools of Change: The Tools of Change website provides a collection of voluntary behaviour change, social marketing, and CBSM case studies.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard 
As I learned more about community-based social marketing, I was struck by the similarities to a book I’d read a few years ago that had influenced me a great deal.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath outlines three key ingredients for change. First of all, there is the human component. The Rider is the rational, reflective, deliberative side of human behaviour. His counterpart is the Elephant, the emotional, instinctive side of human behaviour. Finally, there is the Path, the environment or situation surrounding the human players.

I wrote a three-part summary of Switch, which covers the three different approaches to change management:
Directing the Rider: finding the bright spots, scripting the critical moves, pointing to the destination 
Motivating the Elephant: using emotions, shrinking the change, growing your people
Shaping the Path: tweaking the environment, building habits, peer pressure

Additional information is available on the Heath brothers’ website.

Additional Information 
You may also be interested in the following Slideshare presentations:
Don’t Tell Me What To Do: 4 Tools for Creating Effective, Positive Messages
Bringing Numbers to Life
Penny McKinlay

Introductory image: iStock_000024612531