Six Ways Consumer Insights Drive Social Behavior Change

By Andrea Ferrand, Senior Advisor, Social & Behavior Change, PSI

Through our locally rooted, globally connected network, PSI applies behavioral solutions at all levels of the health system across public and private sectors. We help increase access to self-care; improve provider performance and quality; and contribute to health equity by addressing power dynamics and expanding voice, choice and agency of people who are typically underserved. To do this, we elevate consumer insights to design tailored programming, sharpen focus, and, ultimately, improve health. Here are six ways we have done this recently:

  1. Social Listening Drives Youth-Powered Healthcare. Úsala Bien integrates social listening and one-on-one cyber-education onto digital platforms like Instagram and Facebook to increase access to contraception for youth across Central America and the Caribbean. The project generates fun, interactive and insight-driven content that engages more than 8.1 million young people with life-changing information on sexual and reproductive health, within interactive digital platforms and in a language that resonates with them.
  2. Raising the Decision Intelligence of Sanitation Customers. PSI leverages behavioral science and transforms the market to improve WASH behaviors in Ethiopia. Through the USAID Transform WASH project, we help business partners across the country strive for excellence in both the quality of the sanitation products and services along with the support they offer customers. By proposing solutions that directly address their problems and concerns, customers are better placed to make smart decisions and purchases to meet their sanitation needs.
  3. Overcoming Client Fear to Self-Inject. In Nigeria and Uganda, the Delivering Innovation in Self-Care (DISC) project leverages insights from early adopters, prospective users, and the public and private sector providers whom women rely on to light a path toward DMPA-SC scale-up. DISC improves provider counseling to directly address client fears to self-injectable contraceptives. By offering women increased voice, choice and agency over their health, self-care offers health systems a new and critical partner: consumers themselves.
  4. The Messenger Is the Message. For decades we have misread why we are not retaining men in HIV care. When we told men it was possible to live a happy, healthy, normal life with HIV, they challenged us to prove it. In South Africa, we developed the Coach Mpilo model to give men that ‘living proof’. Backed by extensive research, Coach Mpilo engages men living openly with HIV as coaches to model to men struggling with their status that life with HIV can be rich and full and motivating them to overcome barriers to testing, treatment and disclosure.
  5. Improving Provider-Client Interactions Around Viral Suppression. As science evolves and emerges, providers need tools to confidently and accurately counsel clients. Viral suppression is a powerful concept that can improve clinical and psychosocial outcomes among people living with HIV. However, many healthcare providers have struggled to find clear and relatable ways to explain it. PSI’s Mpilo Project developed the B-OK Bead Bottle, a simple visual tool that makes explaining the benefits of treatment and viral suppression to limit onward transmission of HIV fast, easy, and compelling.
  6. Date nights engage Cambodian couples to discuss and use modern family planning. Couples typically make decisions together in Cambodia but may have difficulty discussing contraception. The Promoting Healthy Behaviors Pproject partners with village chiefs to organize couples’ date-nights. Project facilitators engage couples with dating connection cards, games, and loving relationship discussion booklets to initiate discussion around modern contraceptives and whether they are right for them.

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