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Should brand planning be a behaviour change challenge?

Directions in behaviour change: From translating the theory into practice to looking at its design implications and beyond, we put behavioural change under the spotlight

Blue Latitude Natalie Seebeck and Jenna EarlThe brand planning process gives teams a fantastic opportunity to assess the environment, align on objectives and future-proof their strategy.

Delivering on strategic imperatives requires all functions within the brand team to pull together in the same direction. But with differing responsibilities and areas of focus, functions often work in silos to develop their own specific plans without knowing there are opportunities and efficiencies that could be gained from cross-functional integration.

If decisions made in the plan are driven by the impact on stakeholders, it naturally forces teams to ensure their strategy will work in the real world, and not just on paper.

Understanding behaviour change methodology
Marketing is all about changing behaviour, thoughts and feelings. And in healthcare marketing, we're looking to change the behaviour of many different stakeholders - both internally and externally - to achieve brand objectives.

But is it really so simple to 'change behaviours'? Professor Mike Kelly, director of public health, NICE, reflects: “Changing behaviour is rocket science.”

The COM-B model recognises that behaviour is part of an interacting system

Michie and colleagues (2014) at the UCL Centre for Behaviour Change recently reviewed 83 theories of behaviour and behaviour change across multiple disciplines, and found that no one model was effective, applicable to the real world and easy to understand. They synthesised 19 frameworks, and created the COM-B model.

The COM-B model recognises that behaviour is part of an interacting system involving an individual's 'capability', 'opportunity' and 'motivation'.

The model is robust, and has been shown to change patient and healthcare professional behaviour. Given these stakeholders are integral to the success of your brand, the COM-B model may offer an alternative method to your brand planning process.

Incorporating behaviour change methodology into brand planning
By applying the COM-B model to the brand planning process we can begin to identify target or 'ideal' behaviours we wish our stakeholders to adopt. Then, based on their current behaviour, we can identify what needs to change for that target behaviour to occur. The model will also allow you to consider problems and solutions at multiple levels - eg at individual, population and systems levels. 

By taking this outside-in view to tackling strategic planning it ensures all functions address challenges together as a team.

So, as the brand planning cycle begins this year, consider which approach is right for you, your team, the brand and most importantly - your stakeholders.

Natalie Seebeck is client lead and Jenna Earl is head of brand strategy at Blue Latitude

24th November 2016

From: Marketing



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