Change your mind to change your behaviour

This guest post is written by IMC 2015 Candidate Andy Chan from her blog

It’s all well and good to assess where your consumer is at if you want to influence their decision making process. You will want to use one approach for someone who is searching for information on a product category and a different strategy for someone who is itching to buy a specific item. But what if you work for a non-profit organization or a government agency? What if you’re selling not a product or service but rather an idea, attitude, or set of values?

I propose borrowing from psychology for the answer. James Prochaska suggests that individuals proceed through a series of stages when they make lifestyle changes[¹]. Whether it’s learning stress management techniques, adhering to medication, committing to an exercise routine, or quitting smoking, different techniques are required at different points along the change process.

What does this have to do with marketing? I would argue that any organization on a mission to raise awareness on and/or encourage action around a health, social, or environmental issue would benefit from taking this model into consideration. Engaging a target audience will be more successful if it can be established where that audience is situated along the change process. Each stage is associated with psychological attributes; these can shape the strategies used to connect with the audience.

Many people are confused by the conflicting messages they hear about the lifestyle and societal problems they face. You can cut through the clutter by being very strategic with your choice of messaging, and this theoretical model should be one of the tools that helps accomplish that.


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