Combined authority communicating for behaviour change in the West Midlands

West Midlands Local Authority has a number of upcoming campaigns to engage citizens in behaviour change around active travel, retrofitting and using green spaces. 

They commissioned a one-day face-to-face training session on behaviour change for the Communications Team, to support the delivery of the campaigns.    

Frameworks for change

After starting the day delving into all the potential barriers for their target audiences adopting the desired behaviour, we used the EAST behaviour change cards to identify some suitable initiatives and mechanisms that were Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely. 

In order to develop an Awareness Day campaign that went beyond awareness to actually drive change, we used the ‘Campaigns that Work’ framework, focusing on good social norms, specific actions and positive emotions rather than fear, altruism or reinforcing the undesirable behaviour. 

Finally, to embed when to use behavioural mechanisms in the communications journey we used a three-step process of priming, influencing and validating. 

Key insights from the participants 

The takeaways and insights from the team included: 

The importance of social influences to engage people and to drive change – so communicating more about what other people are doing.

Using social recognition as an incentive with the knowledge that once monetary discounts end, a behaviour may also stop.

Referencing audience segmentation and research developing campaigns based on social biases and assumptions.  

Making internal comms more interactive and two-way by sharing insights from team members and taking time for conversations.

Using the Campaigns that Work tool as a checklist and reference point for planning campaigns and communications. 

Sharing tips from the EAST framework as tools for individuals to use 

“the workshop gave the team the chance to delve deeper into the layers and background to behaviour change, moving beyond awareness raising and knowledge-sharing”. 

Alex Walker,
Head of Communications