"PR is not about what people think or even what they say. It's about the actions that people take."
Changing behaviors was the theme of last night's PRSA Boston event, where Robin Schell and Stacey Smith of Jackson Jackson and Wagner PR discussed behavioral PR.
The behavioral PR model analyzes what leads individuals or companies to a specific behavior, referred to as the ultimate desired behavior:
|Source: Jackson Jackson and Wagner PR|
Awareness isn't enough to change behavior. Latent readiness occasionally works, but true behavioral change requires a combination of things: a trigger event, an intermediate step, and a continued relationship.
Although this cycle occasionally happens naturally, it usually only does so when individuals want to change their own behaviors.
JJWPR uses a 10-step behavioral shift (or change management) process:
Determine your goals.
Identify the stakeholders required to achieve goals.
3. Desired Behaviors
Define the desired behavior. This is one of the most challenging steps, because people often have a difficult time pinpointing the behavior that reflects their goals. From a PR perspective, people often want to define the behavior as "They will understand our product/service/offering". It is important to reach past that point: what does it look like if they understand our service? What will people do?
Steps 4 & 5 often happen simultaneously. Research is only helpful if you ask the right questions.
5. Latent Readiness
It is important to understand each stakeholder group's natural affinity and barriers to the desired behaviors. There are both psychological barriers and structural affinities and barriers. Barriers need to be overcome. Affinities need to be leveraged.
6. Key Messages
Although messages can't contradict each other, the message for each stakeholder group needs to be appropriate, meaningful, memorable, aesthetic, and credible.
7. Strategies & Tactics
Philip Lesly identifies that 8% of a population is considered an opinion leader on an issue. They are open to discussion and willing to change their opinion. Moreover, since they are 'opinion leaders', those individuals have the ability to sway the rest of the population. Reach out to and build relationships with those individuals.
8. Behavioral Change
There are four components to making the behavioral change, which can be used independently or in any combination. Obviously, the true power is using them all:
Robin and Stacy identified the three parts of a successful coalition campaign:
- Identify the problem
- Personalize the problem
- Communicate the action that eliminates the problem
The other three components are:
Enforcement (or Mandate)Engineered Solution
Based on the available resources, prioritize the tactics.
Because goals and desired behaviors were set at the outset, evaluations are simple. Compare out the outcome to the initial behaviors. Did it work? Did behaviors change?
What do you think? Does this process mirror your own change management process?