Mind your tone!


A while ago this billboard was placed -if I am not mistaken- above October bridge in Cairo. The billboard reads:

“Fascinated by the citizen who doesn’t go to the auto mechanic unless his car breaks down on The October bridge and congests the bridge and traffic”
 ‘Your life is important to us’  campaign
The public administration for Giza Traffic

The English translation doesn’t really indicate  the long awaited right move that the government took, but I think Yao Ming’s face points it out! The tone of this message is absolutely different than the official ‘authority’ voice that we usually hear. It’s less commanding, more sarcastic, and more like how we actually speak! That’s one good change, a way to get people to hear your message; use their tone of voice.

However, how to get them to respond to your message and act? The same wrong move that any government does is ‘finger pointing’. Finger pointing messages do not encourage change in behaviour, it doesn’t carry any solutions, it doesn’t solve the problem, it’s a dead end. And I think this is because of a lack of a behavior analysis; why don’t people frequently go to an auto mechanic shop? Is it because they forget? Is it because the shop they go to is far away? Is it because they don’t really understand ‘car vocabulary’ (ehmm female drivers!) and get scammed by mechanics?!

Based on the analysis, suggested solutions on top of my head: Send a reminder or allocate a service check week in every month. Device an app or a map based website that lists all certified mechanic shops, and comes with reviews and ratings posted by users. Make and share educational videos about general car knowledge and certify and grade all mechanic shops and give them an incentive of tax deduction once they get certified.

This easies the change process for people. Instead of just telling people to change, try giving them a reason or helping them do so. The design for behaviour change approach puts the blame on a more controllable entity; design and not people. It’s easier, faster and more effective!

Do you agree? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comment sections.