As countries around the world work to change citizen behavior to stop the spread of Covid-19, the Pandemic Behavioral Working Group (PBWG) has formed to provide evidence-based guidance for public health communications and policies.
PBWG brings together behavioral experts from around the globe in marketing and communications who can provide real-time guidance on effective approaches to motivating citizens to consistently practice behaviors that can slow the spread of pandemic disease.
“We are living in a time when how individuals behave is literally a matter of life or death for hundreds of thousands of people across the globe,” said Christene Jennings, PBWG Chair and the Chief Operating Officer at Marketing for Change Co. “We know from decades of research that simply telling people what to do isn’t enough to change behavior — especially in a confused and rapidly changing communications environment. Using behavioral science to inform communications and policy is critical for an effective public health response.”
PBWG founding members comprise:
- Marketing for Change Co. Marketing for Change is a full-service creative and research firm anchored in social psychology and behavioral economics and focused on doing good. The agency uses its own behavioral-determinants model to develop and produce products, experiences and campaigns to influence behavior for foundations, governments, nonprofits and healthcare companies. M4C’s efforts not only win awards, but are featured in textbooks and reviewed in peer-reviewed journals. The agency’s mission is to make what’s good more fun, easy and popular.
- IPREX. As a global network of nearly 70 communication agencies in 26 countries, IPREX agencies deliver successful responses to communication challenges. IPREX offers our partners’ clients seamless world-class advice and implementation – and provides partners with the infrastructure and support they need to win and manage such assignments. Clients choose IPREX partners for their influence in their own markets and because our management systems make the diversity, innovation and dynamism of owner-managed agencies work to their advantage.
- iHeartMedia. With over a quarter of a billion monthly listeners in the U.S., iHeartMedia has the largest national reach of any radio or television outlet in America. As the leading audio and media company in the U.S., iHeartMedia serves over 150 local markets through 858 owned radio stations, and can be heard on iHeartMedia’s digital music, podcast, on demand and live streaming radio service, available on over 250 platforms and 2,000 devices. With so many audience touch points, iHeartMedia’s data capabilities provide better informed media strategies and audience targeting to shape distribution models most effective for PBWG’s partners. Campaigns can be scaled from local markets to nationwide coverage.
The goal of the PBWG is to develop and disseminate effective behavior change strategies employed by public health, government, non-governmental organizations, researchers, academia and corporations impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The PBWG is compiling a repository of relevant behavioral research, including research from past pandemics as well as an evolving list of current scientific behavior change resources.
The group is also developing a set of specific, segmented behaviors for key actors affected by the pandemic, and working to create shared definitions of key terms to reduce confusion around behaviors underlying new terms such as social distancing.
The PBWG will launch a speakers bureau and a series of forums in April 2020 featuring up-to-the-minute guidance from academics, public health practitioners, public and private sector leaders, and others who are working on the ground to guide behavioral pandemic preparedness and response.