What’s in a name? That which we call rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.
“I really think that it is time to rename the movement.” Phillip Kotler told the International Social Marketing Association in an interview celebrating a visionary and how he hopes the industry may advance.
Define today’s concept of: marketing. Now, imagine yourself 40-50 years ago, and define marketing. Notice any big differences? Probably a few come to mind.
I bring this up because I was taught that to know where we are headed, we have to know and understand the past. Rewind back to 1969 when an article called “Broadening the Concept of Marketing” was published by Philip Kotler and Sidney J. Levy (remarkably–you can get a free copy online). My fellow social changers and social marketeers, it was this document that helped paved the way for careers, projects and initiatives we are doing today. It was this document that said marketing was a “societal activity” that can be applied for more than “toothpaste, soap and steel” but that marketing can be transferable to organizations (non-business organizations…aka, nonprofits), persons and ideas. IDEAS.
Fast forward to today, and we are still re-defining and evolving our concept of marketing. Take Seth Godin’s recent post about how we frame marketing. Or better yet–he explains that marketing is what happens between the frames:
Marketing is what happens when you’re not trying, when you’re being transparent and when there’s no script in place.
With this sentence, one word comes to mind–authenticity. I see all the marketing, talk and chatter about the latest and greatest gizmo. I see people and organizations striving and racing. In between all that, there is authenticity. We must find it, and we must connect with it again if we are to truly be successful–and if we are truly going to make a difference. Makes me think, how will the idea of authenticity broaden marketing for future generations? Discuss.
If you know social marketing extraordinaire Nancy Lee, then you have heard this saying. Recently, on the social marketing listserv, some dialogue has been shared in response to Nancy Lee and Philip Kotler’s article in Stanford’s Innovation Review titled “Best of Breed,” which looks at corporate social marketing. This could be its own post, but alas, I want to focus on the message of being fun, popular and easy.
Why? Because whether it’s social marketing or corporate social marketing, you are still working to effectively change or influence behavior for good–and an effective way to do so is making your desired behavior fun, popular and easy–which is exactly what started bubbling through on the social marketing list serv as others started sharing some of their favorite fun, popular and easy social marketing initiatives. Enjoy–and when you find yourself running around ragged, ask yourself: Is anyone having fun? Is this easy for people? and go from there.
The Piano Staircase
To encourage passerbyers to take the stairs rather then the escalator (and thus promote physical activity), this group turned the stairs into a piano–whenever you stepped on a stair a different sound would echo–in effect, making taking stairs more exciting than an everyday escalator. I can’t find the source, but it apparently had a 60% success rate. Who’s behind it? Volkswagon. Apparently, Volkswagon has been trying out some experimental marketing based around “The Fun Theory” to see if they could create desired behaviors if the action was made fun. You can read more about the piano staircase and other initiatives such as the recycling arcade and more at TheFunTheory.com.
The Pink Glove Dance
You may have seen this one already, as it’s been circling the blogosphere for a while. But, it’s an example of everyday people–hospital employees–finding a way to make their job fun while communicating a message–that you aren’t alone when taking steps to prevent breast cancer, like getting a mammogram.
Musical Hand Sanitizer
Aas part of Volkswagon’s initiative, they are hosting an awards program on the best “fun” applications for healthy and good behaviors. One entry was a University who had installed hand sanitizers to prevent the spread of germs during the flu season. They found few students using them. Thus, they adopted the fun theory and installed some sounds. Each time someone went for hand sanitizer, a funny noise was created. Results? With the sounds included, students were seven times more likely to use the germ-reducing resource.
Pedestrian TV Traffic Light
In this example, you get some free entertainment while waiting to cross the street. Instead of staring at a red outline of a person wishing it to change with your desired mind control, this traffic light shows TV clips–vidoes from YouTube, funny clips from TV shows, etc. This way, the hope is that you’ll actually wait until it’s safe to cross the street.
Make Your Watermark
Design you own bottle at the vending machine. Granted, I know bottles and paint on bottles isn’t good for the environment. But if you can’t quite get that change initiated, then check out what this group did. To encourage people to buy water over sugary pop or juices form the vending machine, they enabled it so people can design their own water bottle from the vending machine at the point-of-purchase. Now that’s easy, and fun!
Fun, Popular and Easy…Online?
More examples are found on the FunTheory.com Web site mentioned earlier, and I have to admit–it’s fun just looking through them. But, my mind started going: How can you make your online and social media communications fun, popular and easy to help you achieve your behavior change mission? Now, that’s a weighty question. Then, I started thinking about what is it in a Web or social media behavior change initiative that makes it fun, popular and easy:
FUN: Community-based, drive accountability of others through accountability, collaborative in nature
Example: Certain online communities help training for a 5k easier by focusing on accountability or making the desired behavior fun by making it social. Other communities, such as the Sister to Sister Foundation’s online community focusing on healthy behaviors for heart health amongst women. These type of communities make healthy behaviors fun by creating accountabilty and making the behavior social.
POPULAR: Driven by influencers and respected peers in the community or content area the desired behavior resides.
Example: AIDS.gov video-storytelling. AIDS.gov encouraged state officials to create their video on why its important to get tested for HIV. Another example? HHS’ flu PSA contest. Not only was this driven and announced by the HHS Secretary herself, but it was also supported and promoted by all of HHS’ agencies. And it’s winner–come on, who’s more popular than a rapping doctor?
EASY: This may be the most important when it comes to the online arena. Because, for people to use the technology combined with the messages, etc., the technology must first work. It must incorporate usability best practices, be accessible and depending on your audience, address literacy issues, including technology literacy. You technology could be great, but if it’s too complicated and no one uses it, it’s just techology.
Example: Most recently, AIDS.gov hosted the “Face AIDS” campaign asking people to join in. The effort involved a few steps, but AIDS.gov made it easy and fun by creating a collective flickr account to display all the images. Here’s a thought: Some social media is easy to adopt. one click and your a fan, one click and you are a follower. One click, and you’ve downloaded a healthy recipe book. One click and you have a mobile app to track your physical fitness. How can your organization leverage these easy tools for behavior change?
What about you? What are some of your favorite fun, popular and easy social marketing efforts? Any of those take place online?
We all like solutions, right? We’ve heard them talked about, seen some of them unfulfilled or seen them not live up to their potential. But all the trials and errors mean that much more when a solution works. I invite you to read Barack Obama’s remarks about the Social Innovation Fund from earlier today.
The Social Innovation Fund is a proposed solution to identify the most promising, results-oriented non-profit programs and expand their reach throughout the country. The Fund has four main objectives, including:
Catalyzing partnerships between the government and nonprofits, businesses and philanthropists to make progres on the President’s policy agenda
Indentifying and supporting the rigorous evaluation and scaling of innovative, promising ideas that are transforming communities like, for example, Harlem Children’s Zone, Youth Villages, Nurse-Family Partnership, and Citizen Schools.
Support greater civic participation through new media tools
Promote national service.
In sum, Pres. Obama is looking for solutions, and he’s looking across the walls and barriers of private, public, non-profit, individual and organizational groups:
“So all of this represents a new kind of partnership between government and the non-profit sector. [love that!] But I can tell you right now, that partnership isn’t complete, and it won’t be successful, without help from the private sector. [even better!] And that’s why I’m glad that there are some deep pockets in the audience here — foundations, corporations, and individuals. You need to be part of this effort, as well. And that’s my challenge to the private sector today. Our non-profits can provide the solutions.” [and so can our social marketeers!]
Thought 1: What are the evaluative benchmarks for “success” going to be? As, those who are familiar with the debate around libertarian paternalism, this will depend largely on how and WHO defines “success.”
Thought 2: My second thought and gut-wrenching ask was: Have the people involved in this heard of the solutions that social marketing can offer? In the remarks, Obama references individuals working for great changes, telling of their success. What if these success stories came from social marketeers? What if social marketing was applied to some of the very issues the Social Innovation Fund might examine? My mind is boggling with the possibilites–and solutions!
To Start: In response to Thought #2, I would like to highlight that social marketing already is, and can be a solution. Yesterday, I finally received my copy of Philip Kotler and Nancy Lee’s book, “Up and Out of Poverty.” This book examines the issue of poverty and all past and current solutions being sought to solve this issue. Then, the authors offer up social marketing as a solution. I can’t give much more than that because I am just about to crack it open myself. But, I have been waiting for this book. Imagine, a series of social marketing books that looks at real issues, BIG issues, and applies social marketing as a solution. Perhaps, there in lies the rub, some food for thought for the Social Innovation Fund committee. Perhaps, if we had an organization or an entity (hint, hint, join the 260+ others who’ve signed the pledge), then we could get some folks to chat.
I’d like to borrow some words from Pres. Obama himself to thank you for all the work you do in helping us clutivate and discover strong solutions:
“I want to thank all of you here today for everything you’re doing to find new solutions to some of our oldest, toughest problems. I know what you do is not easy.”
In honor of today’s Blog Action Day on poverty, here is a background on poverty and how social marketing can be applied, as I saw broken down by Philip Kotler himself at the World Social Marketing Conference.
Additionally, join over 40 of DC’s influential changemakers at Buffalo Billiards at DC’s 1st Changeblogger meetup. We will recognize and commemorate Blog Action Day, connect with Alex Steed’s social change tour, mingle and share re: living and working for positive change.
What is poverty?
In researching the answer to this question, I couldn’t escape the purpose behind a campaign by the Association of Public Health Schools and the Pfizer Foundation recently created called “What is public health?” This campaign works to better brand ‘public health’ to the public, while also raising awareness, education and encouraging participation in the public health conversation. Participants are asked to put red “This is public health stickers” on items that they feel represent public health. My challenge: What would this look like if the question: “What is poverty?” was asked?
Early Solutions to Poverty
Kotler listed 4 early solutions to poverty: alms programs, workhouses for the poor, deficit financing and economic development. With these solutions, four major strategies reveal themselves to reduce poverty:
Economic Growth Strategy
Massive Foreign Aid
As Kotler continued to outline, he stated the “Two Main Thrusts” used to alleviate poverty are population control (from contraceptive campaigns, to abortions, education of women, industrialization to passing laws restricting the number of children) and improving the support of povert-escaping behavior. This umbrellas micro finance and empowerment, education and health programs.
As part of the Millennium Goals, the World Bank and the United Nations have 8 goals and 17 targets to alleviate poverty (Kotler). One goal is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by:
Cutting in half the proportion of people whose income is less than a $1 a day.
Halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
Everyone hears we need to solve poverty, but my eyes were widened as to WHY we need to solve hunger. And, this goes beyond the humanity of reasons, but puts some more solid evidence to the issue. Kotler spoke of these 6 reasons:
Sympathy and compassion about wasted lives.
Poverty drives some poor people into crime and terrorism.
Poor are more prone to health problems and spreading of disease.
Poor are more likely to follow demogogues.
Poor nations can collapse into “failed states” that cannot pay their foreign debt.
The poor are an untapped trillion dollar market opportunity.
Why Social Marketing?
Kotler, along with social marketing expert Nancy Lee, both are literally writing the book answering this part of the poverty question. I personally can’t wait for the book to come out because I truly believe that social marketing provides the right tools for us to solve global issues such as poverty. In the presentation, Kotler identified a 6-part framework as to how social marketing can be applied to the poverty issue. However, in the book, a larger and more developed framework is offered, as well as further context of the issue.
So, back to the challenge. How would you answer this question: What is poverty?
Liked what you read? Feel free to share with others:
NOTE: PDFs and audio of all keynote presentations are available here.
<– Prof. Stephen Dann was the conference’s Twitter King, providing live coverage of the conference through @WSMC08, and #WSMC08.
Prof. Alan Andreasen gave a closing and optimistic keynote address about the future of social marketing. –>
<– Bill Smith, of AED, discusses the journal Social Marketing Quarterly, calling for more concentration towards social marketing products and services.
This quote was presented by England’s National Social Marketing Centre’s director, Jeff French, who calls all social marketers to unite together and learn from each other in moving the field forward. –>
<– Philip Kotler opened the conference with a keynote about poverty, and how we can apply social marketing to poverty to increase effectiveness and positive change.
Jeff Jordan, M.A., President and Founder of Rescue Social Change, presented his research about Social Branding (which he trademarked), along with 2 case studies about how to use social norming to influence behavior for high-risk adolescents. –>
<– The Purpose Driven Campaign – my master’s thesis that I presented during the poster session! (I also created SocialButterfly, Fly4Change.com pens that were quite popular. =)
Craig Lefebvre, presented an exciting presentation where he “dropped the gauntlet,” and presented the challenge for social marketers to walk the walk, as well as talk the talk when it comes to creating an international social marketing association. Lefebvre announced that he alone has raised a quarter of a million dollars for the project! –>
Other Highlights included:
NIOSH presented add some ‘flavoring’ to the conference by presenting their case study on a social marketing program to improve the safety of butter flavoring employees.
Bob Marshall presented findings from studying the NSMC and from his recent survey about creating a new social marketing association for the States. This is part of an on-going discussion that can be followed here, USSocialMarketingPlan.
Ronne Ostby-Malling of AED presented her preliminary research about the behavior of online social network behavior among adolescents versus their behavior in real-life.