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Audience segmentation

While an understanding of drivers of behavioural intention are important for message development and appeal, the relative adoption of the behaviour within a larger audience also influences the way message framing affects and motivates individuals collectively.

A popular theory that has been applied in numerous fields is known as the Diffusion of Innovation (DoI). Most famously used by Everett Rogers in the 1960ís, DoI demonstrates how individual inclination to adopt an innovation affects its spread throughout society. As illustrated below, DoI suggests society can be split, based on individual willingness, into five adopter categories: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. Relative percentages of these groups in a population have been suggested from prior research. When graphed over time this conceptually demonstrates how and when adopter categories take on an innovation as it eventually diffuses throughout the total population.

In the United States many environmental behaviours have been found to be adopted by roughly 15-25% of the population (Taylor, 2009). From a DoI perspective this shows that many behaviours have been adopted by an environmentally active minority, but have yet to transfer to the larger majority of society. Planning with an understanding of how the unique characteristics of an adopter category affect the way they connect with message content and media could play a significant role in influencing widespread adoption of a new behaviour.