Communication Goals

Consider your Intent and potential for Outcome


  Communication Intention – AIDA


  Communication Outcomes – The Persuasion-Action Matrix

1. Intention – AIDA

The acronym AIDA is a handy tool to remember that communication should always consider how it corresponds with the Audience and the specific Intention of an end result. In this context it can also help you narrow down your specific goal for your communication

The AIDA tool has four steps:

Attracting attention or raising awareness can often be the first bacis steps towards engaging your target group – especially if they are so far unaware of the problem or lack interest (see below)
If attention is established, you might find the the recipient lacking interest. This might require finding good ways to explain the problem and help them see identifiable others that have benefited from self care.
With an attentive and interested target group they will often also need additional motivation – what would they (also) achieve by a change of behaviour?
Getting people to act (differently) might be the ultimate goal. If so they need clear, understandable (for them) advice as to how. But consider the first three steps first – do they have Attention, Interest and Desire as to your proposed changes?

2. The Persuasion-Action Matrix

When choosing a communication tool you should of course also consider the desired outcome – the Intention – both for the benefit of your audience and your own efforts. But be aware also (as mentioned above) that sometimes your Intention might not be possible.

If you are trying to produce a specific action (self care, reading information on a website or even the signing up for a newsletter) then for your Audience to actually act upon your communication, it is essential that they not only understand and agree with your message, but also that they are indeed able to act.

To exemplify, look at the below table, and imagine that you sent out a letter urging the receiver to adopt a new healthy habit, that will also be more expensive for them. Willingness in this sense basically means that the target group possesses the adequate set of values to want to adopt the habit. Ability in this example means having the financial capacity, but in other examples this could refer to other basic conditions – social, demographic, geographic or other.



Unable to actUnwilling and unable
Negative response and no action.
Willing but unable
Good possibilities of an attentive, positive response, but no change.
Able to actAble but unwilling
Negative response and no action.
Willing and able
Good chances of affecting change.
The Persuasion-Action Matrix
willing and Unable
ble but Unwilling
illing but Unable
illing and Able

This group is farthest from change. If you decide to target such a group your efforts should not be directed towards producing action, but towards either Attention or Interest (to increase willingness) or possibly towards information on low level involvement (to point towards future ability).

Communication efforts directly towards action would fail. Instead this group might though be future users if efforts are made towards pointing to common basic values, examples of other users that they can identify with or other ways to increase willingness.
Communication efforts aimed directly towards action would fail. You would need to show cheaper ways to get started, examples of local partnerships to support initial “investments” or similar ways to show alternative ways to achieve the desired.
Communication efforts can be performed with good chances of achieving actual change. Good use of adequate communication tools will have a more than fair chance of producing intended actions
Measuring effect

Successful communication efforts cannot always be measured in increased compliance.Depending on your Intention and the potential Outcome some indirect ways to measure effect might be worth considering – positive changes in responses compared to results from earlier focus group feedback.

If digital, number of views, or number of ordered flyers. Increase in Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn activity?

Effects can/should be measured in many other ways than simply compliance – or “try outs”. Even with a willing and able target group competing communication or “offers” might be about.

Communication efforts/tools should be chosen to match the actual potential of the individual target group – not just by the desired end result; If the tool does not work with the audience, the error is not in the audience.

More about Evaluation?
Read more about evaluation methods and considerations.

Advanced model

In this basic AIDA-model the philosophy is that you need first to create attention or raise awareness to be able to produce any effect. If an attentive environment exists you can try to raise interest, then desire and ultimately action.

In reality producing change through communication is quite a bit more complex than this. Therefore a more advanced advanced model such as Schwarzer / McGuires might lead you to a more specific understanding of the situation at hand – click here to read more .

The advanced model is also a good way of remembering that your goal should always be chosen with care, depending on your possibilities and target audience.

But for introductory planning of your communication efforts at least consider these different levels of end results and the ramifications this has for your measure of effect and evaluation methods.