How to Create a Successful Behavior Change Campaign

Making social change requires having big ideas and lofty goals. It also requires having some very tangible results – a way to measure success and impact. Building long-term, lasting results means eliminating barriers and taking action. But how do we do that? These barriers may be plentiful, typically the larger the impact you want to make the more barriers that are in your way. Below are 3 tips to help galvanize people, break down barriers and make some real change!

1) Build a narrative: People like stories. The better the story, the more likely it is that the person hearing it will repeat it to his or her friends. Amazing stories bring people together and popularize an issue. If you are planning on building a campaign to make social impact, say promoting the use of solar energy, your efforts will be greatly strengthened if you can tie this issue to a story line.

2) Humanize the campaign: Similar to telling a story, your campaign must make sense to people. It must resonate with their daily lives and tug at their heartstrings. Once you have discovered your target audience you must be creative and entice these people by making your campaign real to them. In short, this means you must speak their language. It also means you must listen to what they have to say. If people can relate to your message they are all the more likely to overcome barriers and make change.

3) Stay positive: Sometimes the simplest advice is the best advice. This is one of those times. Often people are turned off by negativity. Speaking to people’s strengths, to their inherent good, is always a better approach than criticizing their behaviors. Take an example like littering: instead of pointing out how bad littering is for the environment, talk about the advantages of recycling. Doing so will help build awareness, but it will also provide people with a positive reason for changing their behavior.

If you are able to effectively utilize all three tips in conjunction with one another, you’ll be off to a very good start. But remember to create short-term objectives so that you can measure success.