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

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.

In social and behavior change communication (SBCC), a message is a statement containing key points of information that a program wants to communicate to an audience to encourage behavior change. Message design is the process of connecting insights about the priority audience with key information the audience needs to know in order to make the change the program desires. Successful, well-designed messages are simple, memorable, easily understood, culturally appropriate and meaningful to the audience. Their design stems from a clear creative brief that outlines what the communication intervention aims to achieve.

Materials adaptation is the process of modifying existing social and behavior change communication (SBCC) materials for a different audience, topic or setting. While this involves more than just translating the materials into the local language or modifying the artwork, adapting materials might include adjustments to the cultural context, modifications of the message or updates to the technical information.

Materials are a primary means by which health programs deliver social and behavior change communication (SBCC) messages. There are many types of SBCC materials, including printed brochures, the script for a television advertisement, a guide for facilitating a group discussion, a Facebook page or an Internet-based game. Materials development brings together the most effective messages with materials for the best combination of channels – the channel mix - in order to reach and influence the priority audiences.

Pretesting is the process of bringing together members of the priority audience to react to the components of a communication campaign before they are produced in final form. Pre-testing measures the reaction of the selected group of individuals and helps determine whether the priority audience will find the components - usually draft materials understandable, believable and appealing.

A creative brief is a short, written document used by project managers and creative professionals to guide the development of creative materials (e.g. drama, film, visual design, narrative copy, advertising, websites, slogans) to be used in communication campaigns. Usually, it is no more than two pages in length, sets the direction, defines the audience(s), focuses on the key messages and shows the desired results for an SBCC campaign or materials.