6 Tips for Positively Changing Youth Perceptions

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People always ask me to tell them the most effective Interventions for achieving positive attitude, perception and behaviour change among young people.

The answer I always give them is feedback, more feedback and then even more feedback.

Like any Social Marketing campaign, repetition of the message is absolutely key. However it’s also very important to get both the message and media channel right.

So for your midweek entertainment, here are 6 fun, frugal and highly innovative ways you can achieve success with your own Youth Engagement campaigns.

1. Let Young People Lead the Change

The biggest failing many previous health campaigns is the top down approach taken to impose health messages on young people.

Most will simply ignore or disassociate themselves with such a hard line, consequence-led message. Involving young people in the campaign message and delivery will improve impact in your school or area significantly.

For more examples of how we are doing this,click here

2. Make Your Message a Positive One

We appreciate that it’s sometimes hard to find a positive message when trying to help young people steer clear of risks. So that’s where Social Norms comes in – it takes the emphasis off the negative behaviour and focusses on the positive majority making healthier choices.

The “9 out of 10 x school students choose not to smoke” led to a 37% positive change in peer perception in one school because it was positive and involved students from the school. And so to my next tip…

3. Localise the Message

Central to the success of our programme is the ability to localise the message right down to the school. One of our earliest challenges was achieving ‘believability’ in some of the most deprived areas we were working in. The 2 ways we overcame this was to provide lightning fast feedback to Young People and secondly, provide feedback in a manner than made it completely relevant to their immediate peer group.

4. Embrace Technology

Young People don’t read leaflets – Fact. However at least 98% of them own mobiles and look at their phones at an average of 150 times a day (source Meeker report). They’re not called digital natives for nothing.

We’re always using mobile to provide instant feedback on the positive truth which will immediately affect their decision making about risk taking behaviours.

5. Look at the Bigger Picture

Changing perceptions among young people is only part of the story. They say it takes a whole village to raise a child. That’s why we’re big on parent participation in campaigns so that their perceptions can be positively changed too.

This has been extremely important in areas such as Healthy Eating and Alcohol, where the attitudes of parents were actually falling way below the standards of their children.

And while we’re at it, we’ve been changing a few school staff perceptions too!

6. Measure Your Success

“The kids loved the campaign” isn’t going to cut it anymore. You need to measure the effectiveness of what you’re doing. From the very start we have been able to see what ‘didn’t work at all’, what worked ‘quite well’ and what ‘worked brilliantly’. Wrapping your Interventions in a tasty pre-test, post-test sandwich lends itself to a highly effective evaluation.

Want Some More Tips?

We’re always happy to share, please contact us on 0161 2145216 or email gary@social-sense.co.uk

For more about R U Different?, visit www.rudifferent.co.uk

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