COM-B explained in 2 minutes

Hi change-makers and communicators as promised here is COM-B explained in less than two minutes.

COM-B is a young theory. Created in 2011 by Susan Michie, Professor of Health Psychology and Director of the Centre for Behaviour Change at UCL, and colleagues M van Stratten and Robert West . It centres on three core elements:

C – Capability O – Opportunity M – Motivation

But as you know, humans are more complex than that; so each of the three elements has two more constructs to consider.

  • Capability – think –  psychological & physical
  • Opportunity –  think – reflective & automatic
  • Motivation- think – physical, social & environmental

COM-B is young and popular. It is recommended by NICE (clinical excellence folk aka quality standards) and it is used in digital healthy lifestyle interventions and integrated healthy lifestyle services. If you Google it you will see many examples of application from educating GP’s to child health but you will not see how it is used in marketing. Mainly because we just don’t publish the way our public health and academic colleagues do; but why should it not be an effective tool to transform marketing behaviour change too.

As always success will rest on how well you know your audience. COM-B demands you ask questions to deeply understand them. Do you know the reality of their opportunities, what motivates them and how capable they feel? Does your programme lead know? Do your stakeholders?

It is most likely your stakeholders all have a different golden nugget of information that when brought together can become the golden thread of your plan.

Change-makers and communicators you can use COM-B to:

  • Get to know your audience.
  • Engage stakeholders.
  • Plan the intervention…strategically…with the person at the centre.
  • Shape your messaging and channels
  • Make the change happen!

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