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Creating content to trigger behaviour change

As part of the development of content and communication strategies in healthcare, we mine for insights into audience behaviours – identifying what HCPs or patients think and how they act; but there is a real need to go deeper and understand WHY they behave the way they do.

Tasked with promoting a new product or service, a consumer marketer’s goal will be to answer an unmet need – real or imagined – for the newest tech, the latest fashion, for entertainment, speed, comfort, etc. Content is created to communicate that need – and demonstrate compellingly why one product or service answers it better than the rest.

In medical communications we take the same approach – what are the unmet needs of patients and their physicians? How will our treatment make a real difference to their lives? Given the very real unmet needs in healthcare, and the hope offered by many new medicines, it should be easy to get an HCP to trial a new treatment. But all too often, with promotional content focused heavily on a product’s attributes and benefits, marketing communications simply fail to answer the deeper needs of the audience.

As part of the development of content and communication strategies in healthcare, we mine for insights into audience behaviours – identifying what HCPs or patients think and how they act; but there is a real need to go deeper and understand WHY they behave the way they do. In their book The Behaviour Change Wheel, Professors Susan Michie, Robert West and Dr Lou Atkins, leading experts in behavioural science, identify a methodology for triggering behaviour change, based on a synthesis of 19 different evidence-based frameworks.

At the core of The Behaviour Change Wheel is the COM-B model, which points to the CapabilityOpportunity and Motivation of an individual as the key drivers of his or her Behaviour. According to the COM-B model, at least one of these drivers must shift in order for behaviour change to occur. What skills or knowledge would improve someone’s capabilities? What external influences would give them the opportunity to act? What motivates them most – is it the fear of consequence, or the promise of gain?

Applying COM-B to the development of content strategies can enrich our communications, transforming tactics into behavioural interventions specifically designed to shift the capabilities, opportunities and motivations of our audienceOnce we understand why our target customer acts a certain way, we can see more clearly the barriers to behaviour change – for example, a gap in clinical understanding, the actions of other stakeholders, or, at a deeply emotional level, the lack of a higher purpose. Understanding these barriers can then inform what and how we communicate: not just the stories we tell, but the stakeholders we reach out to, the frequency at which we communicate and the touchpoints through which we reach them. To this end, at HLM we have developed a truly differentiated, ownable content strategy framework: IDENT delivers omnichannel interventions that are informed by the science of human behaviour, setting a new standard for effective, meaningful medical communications.

Written by Jean-Marc Rathe, Senior Director at Havas Life Medicom

14th July 2022

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Havas Life Medicom

+44 (0)20 8481 8100

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Address:
Ferry Works
Summer Road
Thames Ditton
Surrey
KT7 0QJ

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