Nearly all campaign and communication activities will have an aspect of behaviour change as their outcome. By applying behavioural theory, we can design more effective communications to influence how people act for the public good.

A common framework – EAST

The EAST framework devised by the Behavioural Insights Team is the right starting point for people thinking about behaviour change.

This provides an easy to use checklist based around four key principles known as EAST– making it Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely.

Making it easy

If you want someone to do something make it easy.

  • Simplify messages – making the message simpler can result in 5 to 10 % increase in response rates. Identify how a complex goal can be broken down to simple actions or “chunked up”.
  • Harness the power of defaults – we have a strong tendency to go for the default/easiest option when making decisions.
  • Limit the hassle required to take up a service.

Making it attractive

It is important to attract an individual’s attention in the first place, and ensure that desired behaviours are rewarded.

  • Attract attention – make use of images, colour or personalised/tailored messages.
  • Make the desired behaviour valuable. Scarcity gives something a greater perceived value.

Making it social

We’re all social animals and heavily influenced by what those around us do.

  • Show that most people perform the desired action, often described as the “social norm”.
  • Encourage people to make a commitment to others – which increases the likeliness they will follow through with an action.
  • Use the power of social networks to encourage behaviours and advocacy that spread peer to peer.

Making it timely

Timing impacts on how we act in any given situation.

  • Prompt people when they are most likely to be receptive, when habits are already disrupted.
  • Consider the impact of costs and benefits. We are more motivated by costs and benefits that affect us immediately.
  • Help people plan their response to events. Prompt them to identify the barriers to action and develop a plan to address them.


Original author / source: Government Communication Service