Nadine Richer on Sustainability and behaviour change

How to create a sustainable future through changes in behavior & attitudes across society?

brain2Case summary:

Changes in attitudes and behaviors are fundamental to create a sustainable future. To preserve our planet, institutions, governments, industries and individual citizens must be highly involved in the process of change.

Indeed, lots of our behavior are based on unconscious decisions or ‘habits’. This means that they are ‘undeliberate’ and tricky to change. However, if we are aware of the future sustainable challenges, we can break our bad habits and replace them by good ones. Psychological research already initiated for this purpose, provides guidance for targeting automatic, instinctive behaviors.

Toward a better world

Strategy for change

a. Social Network:

With globalization, social network is one of the most influencing communication tool. Therefore, using social media (Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn…) could be a part of the strategy to encourage individuals, groups and communities to be committed into more sustainable patterns of behavior. Unfortunately, this strategy is still neglected and should be rethink more attentively.

b. Social Marketing:

The other most applied strategy for pro­moting sus­tain­able behaviors is known as ‘social mar­keting’. It consists in using marketing tools and applies them to social behavior.

  • What are the five levels for change?
  1. Increase awareness & encourage acceptance Make it understood
  2. Establish confidence & convenience Make it easy
  3. Relate it to self-image & society Make  it desirable
  4. Demonstrate the proof & payoff Make it Rewarding                                                                                                            (Right behavior = Reward)
  5. To reinforce & remind Make it a habit – when we make                                                                                      a change how to help keep doing it?
  • How to reach this goal?
  1. Identify the barriers:    what are the things that stop people from adopting a new behavior?
  2. Identify the Triggers:   how could we get people to start a new behavior?
  3. Identify the Motivators: what are the ways to help them stick with new behavior?
  •  How to promote sustainable behavior? 
  • First, it is VITAL to ATTRACT ATTENTION and Keep it
  • Second, use PERSUASIVE MESSAGES and STRATEGIES to foster change
  • Third, remember to keep an eye on our DELIVERY
  • Fourth, think carefully about AUDIENCE


“Social-Marketing” Tools

    • Create surprise through advertisement
    • Paint a picture ( images are more memorable)
    • Get emotional to increase empathy
    • Tell stories (real stories stimulate the brain, motivate and energize)
    • Be specific and concrete (use concrete language, explain what is green future for example)
    • Find a core (lighting one core idea at a time)
    • Back yourself up with details, statistics, examples
    • Keep it personal (use “You”, emphasize on the individual identity)
    • Go with the crowd (use negative injunctive norms)
    • Create a vision (let people have an idea of the vision
    • Situational Change : make sustainable situation less costly and more desirable by create incentives (monetary & non-monetary) and motivation
    • Associate campaign with nice people, fun events, food…
    • Encourage commitment and make it personal, meaningful, written, public, and require some effort
    • Open to change until it becomes automatic, use incentive
    • Feedback reinforces behavior (people know that they are making a difference)
    • Be a role model to encourage behavioral change.
    • Create link between values and action
    • Highlight beneficial benefits


  • EFFECTIVE DELIVERY : make sure that the message is well understood
    • Pick the right moment
    • Be nice to pursue and convince
    • Power of words and conversations
  • AUDIENCE : communication abilities to target the right audience and convey the                       adapted messages
    • Need to reach the majority, not only people already engaged in environmental issues
    • Spread environmental messages through social diffusion (leaders, authorities’ figures, salesmen, connectors…)
    • Approach different people by using segmentation into identifiable groups. Use concrete language, add credibility to the message by providing details, statistics, and examples.


  • Beyond “Social Marketing” Approach

A new approach that goes beyond “social mar­keting” techniques is rap­idly growing in pop­ularity. Social marketing techniques are efficient strategies to encourage sustainable behavior. However, they have limitation and could be, in some cases, counterproductive.   This idea of chan­ging people’s behavior is impossible unless people’s per­sonal values are targeted by campaigns and all messages are framed in a particular way. Thus, the right values and frames for pro­moting sus­tain­able atti­tudes and behaviors is a crucial factor for sustainable change communicator

# # #










Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s