How-to Guides

SBCC How-to Guides are short guides that provide step-by-step instructions on how to perform core SBCC tasks. To find a Guide, select a communication process step in the graphic or the drop-down menu.

  • Inquire is the first step in the communication process. In this step you set a vision and conduct an analysis of the situation, the audiences, and programs.
  • Design is the second step in the communication process. In this step you create a communication strategy that includes communication objectives, audience segmentation, program approaches, channel selection, a monitoring and evaluation plan, and implementation plan.
  • Create and Test is the third step in the communication process. In this step you design, test, revise, and produce final communication products including materials, activities, and processes. 
  • Mobilize and Monitor is the fourth step in the communication process. In this step you mobilize your partners, implement your program and monitor its progress. 
  • Evaluate and Evolve is the fifth step in the communication process. In this step you evaluate your program and use lessons learned to inform development of upcoming programs.
  • SBCC Theory: Communication theories should guide program design and evaluation. These theories help predict how the audience will change through exposure to the SBCC program and measure success accordingly.
  • Stakeholder Participation: The communication process works best when program partners, decision-makers, audience members and technical experts are actively involved in each step. Engaging these stakeholders throughout the process spreads ownership and encourages sustainability.
  • Capacity Strengthening: Successful programs seek to strengthen local SBCC capacity so that partners can use what they learn to design, implement and evaluate programs and solve problems as they arise in real time. Learning should be happening all the time and at all levels.
  • Organizational Development: A strong organization is critical to being able to successfully implement SBCC programs. Organizational development focuses on improving leadership, management, systems, and financial sustainability.

How-to Guides

Interpersonal communication (IPC) is the tailored exchange or sharing of information, thoughts, ideas and feelings between two or more people to address behavioral determinants of health. It is influenced by attitudes, values, social norms and the individuals’ immediate environment. IPC can be one way or two way. It can also be verbal, non-verbal or both. Types of IPC include one-on-one interactions (at clinic or community), small group interactions, large group discussions, hotlines, supportive supervision visits, peer education, parent-child or inter-spousal communication.

A communication strategy is the critical piece bridging the situation analysis and the implementation of a social and behavior change communication (SBCC) program. It is a written plan that details how an SBCC program will reach its vision, given the current situation. Effective communication strategies use a systematic process and behavioral theory to design and implement communication activities that encourage sustainable social and behavior change.

Concept testing is the process of sharing creative concepts with the intended audience to get their feedback and identify the best idea before designing materials (See the How to Develop a Creative Concept guide). Results from creative concept testing help the creative team to revise concepts, drop ones that do not resonate well with the audience and identify the ones the audience likes best. Sometimes none of the concepts is appropriate for the audience. In these cases, the creative team returns to brainstorming, keeping in mind lessons learned from the concept tests.

A creative concept is an overarching “Big Idea” that captures audience interest, influences their emotional response and inspires them to take action. It is a unifying theme that can be used across all campaign messages, calls to action, communication channels and audiences. Typically, the creative concept is embodied in a headline, tagline and a key visual. Successful creative concepts are distinctive, memorable, unifying and relevant. Some examples include: Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign, the “Got Milk?” campaign and the Red Ribbon Campaign.

The brand personality is a description of the brand, expressed in two to four adjectives, as if it were a person, such as friendly, bold, smart or confident. The personality is used to shape the tone and voice for all brand communication, including advertisements, packaging and the brand name. Brand execution is the material components of a brand – logos, colors, fonts, the ‘look and feel’ – that differentiate a brand in the mind of the audience. Execution is designed to take the product, service or behavior, and create a desired image and perception around it. The executional elements should complement the brand positioning and personality. Developing the executional elements is the last step in developing a brand strategy.

Brand positioning is the identification and promotion of the most important and unique benefit that the product/service/behavior represents in the mind of the audience. It identifies what is unique and compelling about the brand, and how the brand is different from the competition. Positioning helps an SBCC program be perceived in a positive light by the audience. Positioning, however, is ‘behind the scenes.’ While it guides the marketing strategy, it is never explicitly stated in external marketing materials.

Audience insight refers to an understanding of the emotional motivations and needs of the audience. An insight goes beyond descriptive demographic data, such as age, gender or income level, and describes a key piece of information about how the audience feels in relation to a specific product, service or behavior. An audience insight statement is comprised of two fundamental components: A summary of the understanding of the audience’s identified needs, and the key problem they have faced trying to fulfill this need.

A stakeholder workshop is one way to engage stakeholders – those who are affected by, have a direct interest in, or are somehow involved with the problem identified during the situation analysis - and gatekeepers – those who control access to people or resources needed – when developing a social and behavior change communication (SBCC) strategy. The program team invites stakeholders and gatekeepers to a short workshop to seek their input on the proposed program or to achieve consensus.

An organization’s mission statement describes clearly and concisely why the organization exists – its purpose. The mission statement defines what is important to the organization and guides the organization’s decisions and activities. It answers questions about whom the organization serves and what, why and how the organization does what it does.

Indicators are tools used to measure Social Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) program progress. They are used to assess the state of a program by defining its characteristics or variables, and then tracking changes in those characteristics over time or between groups. Clear indicators are the basis of any effective monitoring and evaluation system.

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