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How Do You Market Behavior Change?

2010 January 19

January is National Radon Action Month, or NRAM. Read more about EPA’s radon activities and what others are doing to reduce their radon exposure.

I was buying shampoo yesterday and was, for some reason, drawn to a particular brand I had never bought before. I didn’t realize why I was drawn to this particular product until later that day when I caught myself humming the jingle of the shampoo’s commercial on my walk home.

What influences you to change your behavior in your day to day life? An article? A friend’s message? A public official’s warning?

Our goal in public health marketing is changing individual’s behaviors, but influencing someone to test their home for radon can be challenging. Science has informed our thinking about radon. Now, we’re challenged to convey actionable messages to the public.

EPA and its partners have promoted radon awareness through a national media campaign. All of EPA’s public service announcements, or PSAs, are actually free for the public to download for TV, radio and print.

In 2001, the National Academy of Television, Arts, and Sciences bestowed a national Emmy Award to the PSA, “Take the National Radon Test: Man on the Street,” for raising awareness of the health effects of radon.

Because information from a trusted source often moves people to act, EPA developed a campaign around the Surgeon General’s Warning against radon. Similarly, the National Conference for State Legislatures works with other partners to air state legislator’s messages on local radio stations during NRAM 2010. Last year, 154 legislators urged their constituents to test their homes for radon through these PSAs.

EPA has also bundled the radon message with other environmental movements to reach the public in new ways. For example, radon is now part of a larger green campaign to sock it to radon. EPA also sponsored a YouTube video contest to promote the message: “Radon. Test. Fix. Save a Life.” The winning entry, Eddie’s Story, can be found on our Website.

EPA’s radon marketing efforts are expanding to reach a variety of audiences, but there is always room to grow. What is science without an actionable message? What have you done to influence individual behavior change through public messaging?

About the author: Rebecca L. Reindel, MFS, is an Association of Schools of Public Health Environmental Health Fellow in the Indoor Environments Division, part of the Office of Radiation and Indoor Air. She is completing her Master’s Degree in Public Health at the George Washington University. She holds a Master’s in Forensic Toxicology and has previously addressed workplace exposures for taxi drivers and was an instructor at GWU.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

9 Responses leave one →
  1. kat permalink
    January 19, 2010

    One impediment to changing behavior in regard to radon testing may be related to trust issues in the general public. Do I really want to hire a company to test my house for radon if it is in their best interests – financially – to find radon and ultimately profit from the mitigation/elimination services they themselves provide?

  2. Al Bannet permalink
    January 19, 2010

    Maybe some talanted musician can write jingles for green products?
    Personally, I enjoy a funny commercial and instantly forget the sponsor.

  3. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    January 19, 2010

    Changing peoples’ behavior can be a very hard thing to do. But on certain issues like radon and water conservation, it must be done. People First Orange County is in the middle of a project to do that now with disabled persons and water conservation. At the Chapter meeting last week, it came out that one of the county’s several water suppliers had a program called water budgeting rates. If you use water at below a certain level, you will pay a lower water rate as a reward for conservation. This is important not only because it conserves water but because it can also benefit low income people which many disabled persons are. But very few independent living staff had heard of the water company’s program and teaching water conservation to the clients has never been an issue on the radar screen of the regional disabled services agency or of the programs that directly serve supported and independent living clients, or of the group home operators. As a result, we have done a survey of the county’s water suppliers to see who has the water budget rates. (Most of them have the rates in place now or are planning to put them in this year.) The results are being shared with the agency director so he can get them to the group homes and supported and independent living programs. Next, we are working with the agency director and the county water wholesaler that supplies the water to the retailers to put together a water conservation training program for clients and group home operators that will allow them to change how they use water to cut back some and be able to use the lower water budget rate. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  4. Henry Palmer permalink
    January 19, 2010

    Most folks don’t know the danger, me being one of them. If one of my friends told me that they had their residence radon tested I would probably say or ask why.

  5. amanation permalink
    November 1, 2010

    1.Technology has made it easier for all market participants to collect the relevant market information quickly and at the same time. More importantly, has given all market participants the same analysis tool. How we analyze the information. Everybody has the same price and volume information. The same information is available to everybody at the same time.But everyone give reaction to his own way. this blog is very interesting.

  6. amanation permalink
    November 12, 2010

    1.Technology has made it easier for all market participants to collect the relevant market information quickly and at the same time. More importantly, has given all market participants the same analysis tool. How we analyze the information. Everybody has the same price and volume information. The same information is available to everybody at the same time.But everyone give reaction to his own way. This blog is very interesting.

  7. Lorenzo Orlando Caum permalink
    March 3, 2011

    You just need to have the consumer “buy-in” to the product. Then they will truly believe in it.

  8. Jawad permalink
    April 10, 2011

    Its something that is very difficult to get into for a layman. I have been working as a marketing director in a company and we have to redefine our strategies two time in the last 5 years because of the change in behavior of our clients.

    Jawad

  9. Naples Dentist permalink
    August 15, 2011

    Thanks,I think this is better topic for me. I get some benifit by this topic. You can’t go anywhere without some type of stimulus coming at you but it’s effective. To requried atopics, It is also so much important for us.

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