Influencing behavioural change among farmers

Mindset. We can all be guilty of assuming an individual may have a certain mindset because of their demographic credentials, and in the agricultural industry this is no different.

In many scenarios it’s assumed that farmers are slow to adopt technologies or are stuck in their ways, but we’re wrong to assume. And even if this is the case, we as PR professionals have a key role to play in helping change or influence this mindset.

As a team, we have been fortunate to have experienced trainer, speaker and communication consultant Jolanda Jansen from St Anna Advies, visit the office.

Jolanda spoke to us about social psychology and how we can use the basics of this to shape communication strategies and influence a mindset change among key audiences.

Jolanda spoke about a model she and her team have developed, the RESET Mindset Model. This is designed to help communicators understand the key cues that people are most likely to relate to, and therefore help influence a person’s behaviour.

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Farmer in field on phone

The RESET mindset model is formed of five ‘buttons’ as follows:

R: Rules and regulations

E: Education and information

S: Social pressure

E: Economic incentives

T: Technical solutions

To deliver an effective communications campaign, Jolanda emphasised the importance of incorporating all five of these ‘buttons’, as different people will be sensitive to different behavioural cues.

Crop in hand

The drink driving campaign is a clear example of how this can be delivered effectively using all five of the ‘buttons’ to influence behavioural change. This campaign was enforced from a legal perspective (R), there was an educational campaign to inform people of the risks of drink driving (E), as well as a decline in drink driving being socially acceptable (S) fines and bans were introduced for offending drivers (E), and breathalysers could be fitted in cars to physically stop people driving under the influence (T).

As a result, there was a marked decline, in the number of people killed by drink drivers.

Jolanda also explained how each of the behavioural cues in the RESET Mindset Model can also relate to personal preferences when it comes to making decisions as follows:

R: Rules and regulations = Structure seekers

E: Education and information = Information seekers

S: Social pressure = Status seekers

E: Economic incentives = Price seekers

T: Technical solutions = Convenience seekers

It’s this type of insight that’s invaluable when it comes to preparing communication campaigns. Rather than focusing on one of the RESET ‘buttons’ within our campaigns, we should be preparing strategies that incorporate all five of the ‘buttons’ to ensure we can appeal to a broad audience and influence the change in behaviour we are striving for.

As has famously been said, if you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you always get, so perhaps with the new year underway, this is a model that we should all embrace for 2020.

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