Ruth Dale 0:01
Hello, you're listening to the behaviour change Marketing Bootcamp podcast. I'm your host, Ruth Dale. And this is where busy comms and marketing pros come to learn how to use behavioural science design thinking and other cool stuff to shift out of awareness into action to really focus in on improving health and influencing positive behaviours. With over 20 years experience of doing just that across Public Health England on some of the biggest campaigns such as Chane4Life your life, as well as working in a busy NHS hospital with zero budget, I completely get how hard it can be to use this very clever stuff when you are working frontline and juggling. So in our episodes, we do lots of how tos and talk to some people who succeeded sharing case studies and talk to book authors and really bring you the latest research and hot tips so you can accelerate your impact. Okay, let's dive in.
Ruth Dale 0:57
We interrupt this episode just to remind you that Behaviour Change Marketing Bootcamp is back. The next session is on the 31st of October, you can head over to www.behaviourchange.marketing/bootcamp for the details. Now let's get into the episode.
Ruth Dale 1:17
Hello, you're listening to Ruth Dale and this episode is all about habits. Now this episode is dedicated to the public health officers out there and all the marketing and comms pros working on public health campaigns. This episode will teach you how to stop being boring. There you go. It's out there I said it sorry. But some public health campaigns are just so boring. And I know I'm guilty of that myself. Now, we've been tackling some of society's greatest challenges some of key public health challenges for so, so long. I myself have been working on smoking for 20 years. And how long have we been asking people to move more childhood vaccination programmes been around forever? And yes, COVID is new. But the concept of being vaccinated is not we have just gone on and on and on so much people generally know when they should make healthy decisions. And we're generally aware of our bad decisions. So simply telling people over and over and over to stop doing something to start doing something isn't going to cut it.
Ruth Dale 2:19
Now, that's not to say that there aren't some beautiful creatives and awareness isn't the first step because yes, it is. But we can do better. And we just need to use the science of habits to help us reinvigorate and open up our creativity. And just allow us to take a new perspective on some just some really tired old challenges. So that's why we're dedicating this episode to the public health folk out there. But really, and truly, it's useful for anyone who is asking their audience to start a new habit, or to stop an old habit. So you might be asking your audience to start moving more. Or you might be asking your audience to stop drinking so much alcohol, the choice is yours. But understanding habits is relevant for us all. So I will explain really quickly, three points, how habits are formed. And then I'm going to share with you how to do a behavioural statement, which I think you'll find really useful. This behaviour statement is used in your problem framing stage, but you can use it whenever it's useful for you. But I highly recommend it's used upfront, alongside empathy mapping, it really helps you deepen your understanding of the audience. Because if you don't know the answers to these questions, then actually you then have your spec, you have your brief, and you know what you need to ask them. Okay, so before we get onto the statement, let's have a look at habits.
Ruth Dale 3:44
Now, habits sit in our system one, they are behaviours that take place on autopilot. And for those of you that are not familiar with system one, system, one is a metaphor for the dual process in our brain. But I should say system one and system two are the dual processes in our brain. Now, as a metaphor, it really highlights the fact that our brains are always working and they're working. These dual processes are working interchangeably. But system one is where all of our subconscious thinking sits. So it's where a lot of our decisions we make will be happening very fast, very subconsciously. Otherwise, of course, we could just not exist. There's no way we could make all the decisions that we need to make consciously. We would just become I think paralysed with overwhelm. I don't I mean, it's biologically not possible anyway, but so your system one is where your habits sit, okay, now you make about 33,000 decisions a day. And of those 33,000 decisions a day about 95% Sit in system one. So that's a lot. Now the 43% is of that 95%. So there's a whole load of more subconscious decisions, which is why in behavioural science and environmental triggers are so important. So just remember that, okay, habits are happening on autopilot.
Ruth Dale 5:10
And if you think about it yourself, think about, you know, driving home and you can't remember, actually, there's last few blocks or popping a seatbelt on whenever you get in the car. Or for me, it's my custard creams with my cup of tea, and definitely my first tea of the morning autopilot all the way. And if my kids hear me say, it's a two tea morning, I need another cup. They're so sweet. There'll be extra quiet for me. So that was number one
Ruth Dale 5:35
Number two habits are formed using reward, but don't necessarily need reward to continue.
Ruth Dale 5:42
So habits are regular behaviours that are repeated over time, and then become so regular, we start to do them autopilot, but they do have a cue, there's a trigger. So there will be something that triggers the behaviour, then there's a reward for doing the behaviour.
Ruth Dale 5:58
Now that reward is not necessary to keep going to keep to feed or fuel the habit, but it is necessary when forming the habit. Now, if you think about it, humans, we're always moving away from pain towards pleasure, aren't we? So even those bad habits, you know, think about it, you know, that really, there's some sort of reward in there for us.
Ruth Dale 6:21
And then thirdly, context, habits are very contextual. So as I use that example, putting your seatbelt on, you know, there's a chain of behaviours, a chain of decisions that lead up to that habit.
Ruth Dale 6:36
So, with that understanding, when I say you need to deeply understand your audience, you need to understand their habits. It really makes you ask the questions, and those questions you can use in a structured way within a behavioural statement.
Ruth Dale 6:52
Just before we go into the behavioural statement, just to say, it is worth thinking, Am I asking someone to stop a bad habit? Am I asking someone to start a new habit. Am I asking someone to quit smoking, reduce alcohol? Or am I asking someone to start running, start jogging stop moving more?
Ruth Dale 7:10
What am I asking them to do?
Ruth Dale 7:12
And just how ingrained and how much part of their life is it because it can really change, you've got different groups, different segments of your audience can be very different for each one, who is really worth doing the behavioural statement just to even to explore the different approaches and the different behaviours that people and the different rewards and motivations that you will find around those still, you know, still say helping people quit smoking, you will have different habits, different cues and different triggers and different reasons people smoke, if you can really get to those, you can really start to resonate and understand.
Ruth Dale 7:50
Okay, so in order to do your behavioural statement, there's just a couple of questions you need to work through very similar to the empathy map.
Ruth Dale 7:58
Okay, so you want to ask what preceded the behaviour. So, in my behavioural statement, I'm trying to define the problem and desired behaviours, but most importantly, understand the context. So I want to know what preceded the behaviour.
Ruth Dale 8:13
I want to know what the triggers were, the cues were.
Ruth Dale 8:17
And then I want to know more about the when, when does it happen?
Ruth Dale 8:20
And then more about the where, where is the person? What's the environment, you really just trying to build a picture up of the immediate preceding habits, and the actual habit itself?
Ruth Dale 8:35
Now behavioural designers will and can and go back weeks before if you've got a really long decision making process for things. And you're doing some decision mapping and behavioural steps mapping. But for this, I would really just highly recommend just stick with the preceding behaviour just to get you started. Don't overcomplicate it yet, you're not journey mapping here. You're problem framing.
Ruth Dale 8:58
So just to reiterate, so your behavioural statement, what preceded the behaviour? What were the triggers? What were the cues? When does that happen? And where does that happen?
Ruth Dale 9:09
Now, this is a tough gig, because we have established that our habits are on autopilot. So I would highly recommend that when you do this. Break it down and stay as contextual as possible. You're wanting to nudge people's thinking. You're wanting to really deeply understand. What is that reward for people? What has motivated them? What's the cue because that could be the invisible barrier. And that could be the reason they keep failing. But also, the more contextual, the more detailed, you stay in your questions when engaging, the more it allows people to open up.
Ruth Dale 9:45
You've got to be very careful. You're not asking people their opinion, and you're not asking people direct recall. So you're shifting into a much more conversational style, where you're asking people questions About days moments in the days about what happened before the moment, you're building a picture with them. Now, when you do that people shift and relax, they will stop thinking, Oh, I have to have the right answer or there's a wrong or a right. But also start to remember other things. So you can start prompting, what does it look like? What did it feel like? What it is sound like? What does it smell like?
Ruth Dale 10:26
And we found when we were doing our sedentary work, even just breaking up the day asking people about their behaviours in the morning, in the afternoon in the evening really helped nudge very different answers than when we asked just on direct recall.
Ruth Dale 10:44
So don't be afraid of being very specific and going very detailed with people. People love talking about themselves and their habits and finding out something new. And also, when you do go in to any engagement exercises, saying that we're looking at habits, people love it, you know, it's not confrontational, they're not a problem, you're not coming in trying to solve their problem.
Ruth Dale 11:06
So this obviously could take you 10 minutes, an hour, two hours, but it is something I really highly recommend. And just with your knowledge now of the science of habits, you can really start to shape and frame your projects very differently.
Ruth Dale 11:21
And keep reminding and asking yourselves, am I asking them to start a new habit, and just how old is this habit, when we were doing our sensory work, some people, Oh, my goodness, they'd sat still at that desk for 20 years. I mean, these are huge, huge changes. And we can have very flippant occupational health and HR messages just saying I'll move more, it'll save you heart disease. But I've sat at this desk for a very long time. And some people actually chained to their desks by the headsets not literally chained, but you know, headsets and had to ask permission to move.
Ruth Dale 11:54
So very much you were able to tease out these quite complex cultural influences within the discussions because we were talking about habits and the cues and what happens just before but and then obviously, then you lens on to ideas and solutions, because as we always say, in the training, it's not your job, to have the answers in your head, you know, you don't have to store the answers is your job to uncover the answers because they sit in your audience's head, it's not your job to change your audience, it's your job to empower your audience to change themselves. Just the same way, it's not your job to motivate your audience, it's your job to empower the environment to create the environment that motivates the audience, because that is how we shift from short term action based immediate action sort of campaigns, where we're just nudging people to do something immediately. That is how we shift into sustainable change.
Ruth Dale 12:55
And the nice example to think about this as COVID. So when COVID first hit, and we first got the vaccinations, there's a lot of nudge messaging, a lot of direct advertising, getting people to book the vaccination, then turn up. And that was quite right, because we had to get a certain amount of population vaccinated very fast, in order to take back control. So it was really important, we did that. But it doesn't lend itself towards sustainable change. And with the pressures in the NHS, and the pressures that communities facing, and just you your workload, the amount of messaging going out all the time, on repeated behaviours. If we stop and pause and look at them as how can we make this a long term sustainable change, then you'll start to get different solutions because you're taking a very, very different approach. And it's fun to and it's easy, and it's a really nice way to start using behavioural science.
Ruth Dale 13:50
Okay, really hope that helps. We're going to pop behavioural statement worksheet with the podcast and in the BrainFuel email this week, a bit of a bumper BrainFuel this week. I really hope you enjoy that. Of course, if you're not subscribed to the newsletter, please do hop over to bBrainFuel. It's kind of just the Sister Act of the podcast really. And if you obviously follow us please on your platforms, we always appreciate that but if you do want the worksheet please do subscribe toBrainFuel and that will go out automatically to you. And you can do that at www.behaviourchange.marketing/subscribe thank you so much for listening. We're so delighted you joined us and if you got any value out of this at all, or even if you just simply had a little chuckle. Please do share it with anyone you think it may benefit.