An essential tool to help you outline and stick to your marketing strategy is called the BEHAVE Framework. It asks a few simple but essential questions:
- Who is the audience?
- What do we want members of the audience to do?
- What are their perceptions about the behavior?
- What can we do to influence those perceptions?
The reasoning behind one step derives from the previous answers. You must know a great deal about your audience before you can identify the action that you will promote. And you should have decided on the audience and action before identifying the perceptions worth addressing. Only then can you consider what types of interventions to develop.
Jumping from knowing who your audience is to designing an intervention is tempting, but this approach usually fails. We have all seen it happen: "We need to reach young African-American men; let's record a rap song!" But the rap song doesn't connect with the audience or address the reason these men are not engaging in the safer behavior. The project is, therefore, doomed to failure.
As you will discover, filling in the framework's blanks requires a significant amount of thought and informed decisionmaking. This approach, however, should not be entirely new to you. You make decisions every day based on evidence and assumptions. The framework helps slow down your thinking a bit to ensure that your assumptions are valid and that you have thought of everything as you make intervention design decisions.