The diffusion of environmental behaviours; the role of influential individuals in social networks.
Fell D., Austin A., Kivinen E., Wilkins C. (2009).The diffusion of environmental behaviours; the role of influential individuals in social networks. Brook Lyndhurst. Defra, London.
AbstractIn mainstream commercial marketing, the concept of a 'maven' is increasingly well established. A maven is an individual with two key attributes: they have specialist or detailed knowledge about consumer products; and they are perceived as a trusted and reliable source of information by other individuals in their social network. It is hypothesised - and increasingly supported by evidence - that a maven can play a critical role in the success or failure of new products, since their advice carries particular weight with consumers.
Following research into the nature of and drivers for pro-environmental behaviours over the past couple of years, the possible role of mavens has emerged as a concern. Are there, for example, 'green' mavens? If so, where are they, what are their characteristics, and how do they function? In the context of the wider forces shaping pro-environmental behaviour - social norms, mainstream advertising, levels of trust in the government and so forth - an understanding of the present and potential role of mavens would be extremely valuable to all those hoping to promote the rapid take-up of new pro-environmental behaviours among the British population.
This research - a collaboration between Brook Lyndhurst, Opinion Leader Research and Dr Julie Barnett of the University of Surrey (now at Brunel) - investigated the notion of 'green' mavens, with a view to identifying specific opportunities for communications and policy.