Assessing external environmental factors (socio-cultural, technological, economic, ecological, political, legal and ethical, STEEPLE) and examining strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) relevant to the intervention.
Environmental analysis involves collecting information about the external environment, forecasting and anticipating change, identifying environmental opportunities and threats and assessing the impact of environmental factors on decision making.
It also involves analysing the internal strengths and weaknesses of the organisation/team/provider network relevant to the design and delivery of the intervention. More >
Strengths and weaknesses analysis focuses on all aspects of internal operations, for example, people, finance, services, and is a consequence of the resource audit.
This analysis will:
There are a number of tools available to help you, such as STEEPLE and SWOT analysis listed below.
A brainstorming exercise could be a useful first step. People may have different perspectives on the nature and impact of environmental factors, so it is important to gather as much information and as many views as possible. It is helpful to:
Additionally, any known future changes, for example, in legislation, should be included. The following example uses the STEEPLE tool to assess environmental factors relevant to a local community’s behaviour to reduce CO2 emissions.
STEEPLE factors impacting on behaviour relating to carbon emissions.
Socio–cultural: focus on values and norms. What is acceptable within a society or sub-group? Nature and influence of social institutions – the family, church and education. Role of the media. Leisure activities.
Technological: Available technologies with respect to products and services, communication, distribution and so on.
Economic: Levels of inflation, unemployment, income and distribution of income.
Ecological: Resource depletion, natural catastrophes, climate change, endangered species.
Political: Local, national and international government perspectives and actions. Pressure groups.
Legal: Legislation concerned with influencing the behaviour of individuals, communities and organisations.
Ethical: concepts of right and wrong, confidentiality of information, respect for the individual, nature of professional behaviour.
In the example of changing a local community’s behaviour to reduce CO2 emissions, negative factors (failure of local government to secure funding for transport initiatives, and negative attitudes among the target audience), would be considered threats. The high costs of household fuel, congestion charges and taxes on refuse collection could be opportunities, as they have the potential to positively change behaviour. These various factors can be laid out in a SWOT chart
There may be numerous threats and opportunities (current and potential), so it is important to prioritise them. It might be useful to assign high/medium/low ratings to each, or to allocate a number (for example -5 to +5) depending on whether this is an opportunity or threat. The implications for the social marketing programme can then be discussed
SWOT analysis is an ongoing process. As the external environment and internal resources change, new information and perspectives can be added. It is useful to make sure that the environmental factors with the greatest potential impact are more closely monitored
List the resources relevant to the current challenge (such as financial, services, and human resources), and assess the strengths and weaknesses (link to resources analysis section). Add these to the SWOT chart
An initial SWOT analysis may be conducted with existing information/knowledge. Further analysis will include new information regarding internal resources and the external environment
For example, an increase in government funding or a positive change in public attitude
For example, a change in the ecological environment and government legislation