“New research has revealed that communication remains the most popular method of behaviour change used by governments for publics across the world.”
So says PR Week (9 March 2012).
Well, yes. But this is (IPSOS Mori) research into public opinion. Legislation and tax were less popular tools of behaviour change. No surprise there.
As Jenny Grey, executive director for UK Government Comms, says in a sidebar: “Better policy design, incorporating the principles of ‘nudge’ theory is also vital” and cites the change of the default in the introduction of the new workplace pension scheme which means that people have to opt out rather than opt in.
PR Week has naturally jumped on the positive perception of the role of communications, but if PR people are lulled into thinking they make the biggest difference then Jenny Grey’s words should be a wake up call.