BoP Marketing and Behavior Change Workshop

May 4, 2017

As part of the 3rd PIA annual meeting held at MIT on April 26-27, PIA held a workshop on BoP Marketing and Behavior Change, led by Benjamin Van der Hilst, Inclusive Innovator, for the Nederland-based BoP Innovation Center. Participants included 11 D-Lab scale-ups fellows and 16 PIA network members and a few guests. The session started with an introduction to various frameworks for analyzing behavior challenges and designing behavior change campaigns in the context of BoP markets. These concepts and frameworks were later practiced collaboratively as participants attempted to design behavior change campaigns for real life cases sourced from the group.

Looking to scholarship emerging from the field of behavioral economics heavily influenced by the work of Dr. Daniel Kahneman - the 2002 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences notable for his work on behavioral economics and the psychology of judgment and decision-making - amongst others, Benjamin broadly outlined three dimensions of understanding around behavioral change: recognizing current patterns of behavior, defining a clear picture of the desired behavior, and understanding of the barriers undermining the desired change (ex: time, money, effort). With that framework in mind, Benjamin layered on three categories of behavior interventions which included triggers (ex: messaging, strategic design), ability (ex: time, money, social deviance, physical and/or mental effort), and motivators (ex: dichotomies of pleasure/pain, hope/fear, and social acceptance/rejection).  Finally, he presented the five levers of behavioral change framework: Make it understood; Make it is easy; Make it desirable; Make it rewarding; and Make it a habit.




To illustrate these frameworks, Ben next discussed lessons learned from BoP Inc’s work on a Unilever case study exploring its approaches to introducing iron-enriched nutritional supplements into low to mid-income Ghanaian markets.  He discussed how successful certain outcomes were with regard to specific strategies and emphasized the important role of pleasure in creating habits, and how to improve desirability through the inclusion of culturally elements (ex: songs, dance, and cooking events). He also highlighted how the introduction of the Bright Future Society helped to create public awareness around the importance of treating nutritional iron deficiencies, brand visibility within the community and social pulls via seller loyalty cards, celebrity brand-ambassadorship and local leadership. 

Using these three frameworks and the insights from Unilever’s case, the group broke off into five small groups to explore concrete behavioral challenges and design actionable strategies to solve them. The five working groups included various sectors and geographies:

  • Case 1: HEALTH by corporation SC Johnson, Mosquito born disease prevention in Rwanda
  • Case 2: WATER by corporate fund Danone Communities, Water kiosks in India
  • Case 3: NUTRITION by social venture Moringa Connect, Moringa powder in Ghana
  • Case 4: ENERGY by social venture Essmart, New solar headlamp in India
  • Case 5: EDUCATION by social venture dot Learn, mobile based education in Ghana

In their working groups, teams discussed challenges experienced by the targeted populations and the behavior changes they hoped to instigate through effective marketing techniques. Next, the groups brainstormed ideas for behavior change interventions and strategies.  Following the small working group discussions, attendees reconvened to discuss the strategies each group explored and took inspirations from each other’s cases.  

To close, Benjamin discussed implementation and financing challenges for launching effective and scalable behavioral change campaigns, particularly in BoP markets. He offered a three part framework for thinking about each of implementation and financing of behavior change campaigns that the teams discussed and tried to apply to their cases:

Through an examination of the Shakti 1.0 to 2.0 case study, Ben explained how BoPInc worked to developed leaner more adaptive models that explored mutually beneficial partnerships with other entities and used effective mobile technology tools to sustain desired behavioral changes and to instigate proper habits.  

This workshop is the first step in a PIA project to develop an online course on the subject of BoP Marketing and behavior change in partnership with BoPInc. Next steps will include further content development and testing and fundraising to launch the course in 2018.

— Nai Kalema, MIT D-Lab


About Benjamin van der Hilst

Ben is an inclusive innovator at the BoP Innovation Center (BoPInc). BoPInc takes a private sector approach to combat poverty. BoPInc supports companies to develop and deliver innovative products, services and business models that improve the lives of people living at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP). At BoPInc, Benjamin is particularly working on behavioral change, distribution and guiding businesses in their inclusive innovation journeys. He completed a Masters in Science & Innovation Management at Utrecht University. When he is not travelling to visit the many projects in Africa and Asia, he resides in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.