Identifying salient beliefs of target audience
The driving beliefs that impact behavior in any region must first be identified before these salient beliefs can be targeted. These salient beliefs can vary between different geographic regions and/or different target audiences (tourists, residents, citizens, geographic origins, life styles etc..). If these salient beliefs are not adequately researched, any interpretive efforts delivered would have the result of searching for a needle in a haystack, as all interpretive messages will be based on targeting these salient beliefs. In this instance the salient beliefs of the snorkeling clients were identified, and more specifically, the beliefs they held towards “not contacting the reef substrate”. Structured interviews exploring their descriptive norms, normative norms, control beliefs and attitudes were conducted to identify their salient beliefs. Results of these interviews will distinguish between compliers and non-compliers and hence the salient beliefs for any particular behavior can be identified. Once these salient beliefs were identified, interpretive messages were created focusing on these salient beliefs.
A willing snorkel audience to partake in the interviews is essential to gather the necessary information. In my experience if the interview is not too long (more than 5 minutes) than most people will be willing to assist. The interview in question consists of 8 questions that are answered in freelisting style and should not take more than 5 minutes per person.
Having clear, concise and similar (for al the interviews) wording in the interviews is essential. Avoid double negatives and refer to a specific behavior that needs to be influenced. The more general the behavior is, the less likely the salient beliefs will be identified.