10 questions with a behaviour change practitioner Lily Tidy
Communications Planning Director, The Shannon Company
What led you into behaviour change?
From a young age I have been a storyteller; whether it was a detailed drawing or a long-winded story on a car journey – I’ve always been curious about how a piece of communication can be used to connect with an individual and change their perspective or attitude.
This curiosity led me into Visual Communications (Art Direction), which, in turn, led me into advertising strategy.
How do you explain ‘behaviour change’ to family and friends?
Well, it depends how interested they are and who’s asking (audience is always important). I would probably tell them that behaviour change can be seen and experienced everywhere and that the theory/principles are based on years of research and academic rigour.
What’s interesting and different today is the creativity and innovation that goes into the implementation of behaviour change. With the introduction of new communication channels, technological advances and data-driven audience segments, it allows us to apply academic rigour and create more effective behaviour change strategies.
Then I would go into detail about The Shannon Company’s intervention toolkit and provide examples, but they normally don’t have time for that!
Has your experience in the field changed the way you see the world’s problems?
Yes, my attitude has moved from ‘too hard basket’ to ‘unpack the problem more effectively’.
How long have you been in your current role?
I’ve been working as The Shannon Company’s Communications Planning Director since April 2018, before which I worked for nearly a decade in the advertising industry.
Where does your role fit into TSC’s overarching structure?
My role is focused on creating bespoke pathways and implementing behaviour change principles to encourage better decisions – ensuring that we provide the right message at the right time.
This means working across multiple behaviour change challenges and how to best tackle individual biases, challenge existing social norms and identify the most effective intervention along an individuals’ pathway.
I am also focused on internal mentoring and training where I am introducing best practice principles across the behaviour change journey, identifying content requirements, key messaging, target audience segments and channel strategies across owned, earned and paid media.
What are your current priorities/projects?
I work across most clients including, currently:
- Framing the story of Australia’s oldest medical research institute to convince the national and international markets to invest, work or collaborate and continuing its leading position on the global stage.
- Identifying and designing an intervention that creates an emotional connection among Gig economy workers that seeks to tackle loneliness.
- Creating a new communications campaign that taps into a deep human truth around our behaviour when it comes to dental hygiene.
Which TSC projects are you particularly proud of?
While I’m proud of all the work we do, I am particularly proud of the work we are doing internally, building on our expertise and applying academic rigour to create new models and processes that apply to the ever-changing environment we live in.
Who and what inspires you?
The art of simplicity inspires me, as this only happens when you truly understand complexity.
What are your reflections on the BWA Consortium?
I am new to the consortium and have yet to join the Working Group. However, I’m looking forward to working with like-minded people who have a diverse skill set and a wide range of expertise and seeing what problems we can tackle.
Do you feel behaviour change is being viewed by government and industry as the Next Big Thing?
So far, my experience working with government departments is they believe behaviour change is critical to tackling the big issues and delivering short and long-term results.
Both industry and government representatives are strong adapters and users of behaviour change theory.
They are looking for partners to provide input and help implement projects; partners who will help them unpack the complexity of a problem, unearth the emotional truth that will connect with the audience and identify the most effective solution.
The Shannon Company has been working with government departments for years and our creative solutions and strategies are a testament to the power of behaviour change theory in practice.
This includes campaigns that create social movements that tackle the big issues like encouraging households to save water with Our Water Our Future, inspiring men to ‘Call it Out’ with Respect Victoria, or persuading workers to be safer at work with WorkSafe – to name a few.