Behaviour Change tool ‘The Theory of Planned Behaviour ‘ explained

Welcome change-makers and communicators to a concise overview of The Theory of Planned Behaviour and how it is applied in marketing. You can use this behaviour change tool to understand your audience and plan your marketing strategy and content.

Developed by social psychologists Icek Azjen and Martin Fishbein in the 1980’s it is a popular psychological theory used to influence people’s behaviour. The theory states there are three constructs to predicting behaviour ‘attitude‘, ‘subjective norm’ and ‘perceived behavioural control’. Importantly all three need to be positively aligned to achieve your identified behaviour change or marketing goal.

Behaviour change tool the Theory of Planned Behaviour
Diagram of The Theory of Planned Behaviour by Azjen & Fishbein

Applying behaviour change to marketing

The three constructs ‘attitude’, ‘subjective norm’ and ‘perceived control’ are a solid foundation for you to use to see how well you know your audience.

Attitude: – This is your audience’s individual belief, it can be positive or negative and you can have conflicting attitudes. For instance, you may be seeking to get mums active and even though they know it is beneficial to their health they hate jogging.

Subjective norm:- This is your audience’s environment, online, social, professional etc and therefore where your audience’s ‘influencers sit’. For example, mummy bloggers, GP and so forth.
For instance, that same mum’s school run friends could all meet at the Park Run every week or they may meet for coffee and cake.

Perceived control:- This is your audiences’ self belief and confidence. For example the mum may not feel capable of jogging, therefore knowing her barriers is the key to overcoming them. Importantly this will generate the insight which will spark your light-bulb moments for your content. For example, is mum fearful of being seen in running gear? Does tiredness dominate her decision making? Is ‘getting active’ yet another ‘must-do’ to add to a never-ending list? Of is she shifting gears and ready to roll?

In conclusion use this framework to develop your marketing persona or avatar to ensure a deep understanding of your audience. Develop behaviour change and insight-led marketing plans that will transform your marketing.

Peaked your interest in how behaviour change can be applied to your work? See blog posts on COM-B and Stages of Change for more ideas.

Want to know more? Watch this fab short video from Brain Gear

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