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Social Marketing for Guidelines - Potsdam 2013.doc

Social Marketing for Guidelines - Potsdam 2013.doc

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Consistent messaging marketed to the public to change behavior for the public good. This is the potential of the International Open Water Drowning Prevention Guidelines. The principles of social marketing can make this happen and can also be applied to other drowning prevention initiatives like signage, beach flags, pool safety, and water safety communications at all levels.
Consistent messaging marketed to the public to change behavior for the public good. This is the potential of the International Open Water Drowning Prevention Guidelines. The principles of social marketing can make this happen and can also be applied to other drowning prevention initiatives like signage, beach flags, pool safety, and water safety communications at all levels.

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Published by: Rebecca Wear Robinson on Oct 30, 2013
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Translating Open Water Drowning Prevention GuidelinesInto Global Action Using Social Marketing
Dr. Linda Quan, Rebecca Wear Robinson, Elizabeth BennettPresented at theWorld Conference on Drowning PreventionPotsdam 2013Second Half of PresentationPrepared and Presented by Rebecca Wear Robinsonwww.rebeccawearrobinson.comrebeccalioness@gmail.com001-630-729-4291
Stop and look at something that virtually every person in every country understands.A red light means stop.The importance of consistent messages to communicate basic safety information cannot be understated. In virtually every country in the world, a red light means stop and agreen light means go.At it’s most basic interpretation, this shows the purpose of social marketing - harnessingmarket forces to change behavior for the public good - and illustrates the potential of theInternational Open Water Drowning Prevention Guidelines to be our red light forconsistent open water safety messages. In this example the desired behavior isstopping at a red light to keep accidents from occurring, which is required for the healthand safety of the public, aided by a natural desire for self-preservation. Yes, lawsreinforce the behavior, but there are not police at every corner, laws are not enough.People stop when there is a red light because they understand the message, haveinternalized the message, and know it makes them safer to comply with the message -the message has been effectively marketed.Consistent messaging is necessary to change any behavior. If you have a child, you willfind yourself naturally repeating certain phrases over and over, with no variation on thewords. “Look both ways before you cross the street”. The reason is instinctual, whenyou need to teach something important, consistent reinforcement is key. You need tofollow up with the reasons, “if you don’t look both ways before you cross the street a carmight hit you”, you may need to enforce the rule, “you can’t walk to school by yourselfbecause you forgot to look both ways”, but you start with the primary message, “look
 
both ways before you cross the street”. You’ll even use the message in a range ofcontexts, “a red light means stop, don’t cross the street if there is a red light and thenlook both ways before you cross the street”. The basic message remains the same.Consistent messaging marketed to the public to change behavior for the public good.This is the potential of the International Open Water Drowning Prevention Guidelines.The principles of social marketing can make this happen and can also be applied toother drowning prevention initiatives like signage, beach flags, pool safety, and watersafety communications at all levels.Today we will look at:
What has been done.
What is social marketing?
Developing your team and targets.
Doing the convincing.
Establishing a dialogue.
Adoption vs. implementation.
Weaknesses and Barriers.
How to Launch a Successful Campaign.Over a two year period after the Guidelines were developed, the original task force putsignificant effort into spreading the word about the Guidelines. They submitted thepaper for publication with a number of high-profile journals, presented the paper atconferences, encouraged organizations to adopt the Guidelines, posted them on web-sites, arranged for them to be translated into 5 additional languages, and encouragedtranslation into literacy-neutral images.I invited myself to the party. I have been an outspoken advocate for developingconsistent messages in the field of drowning prevention and I was excited when I firstheard about the Guidelines at the 2012 World Conference on Drowning Prevention inVietnam. Shortly after the conference, I decided to involve myself, uninvited, in theprocess of spreading the word about the existence of the Guidelines and encouragingorganizations to adopt the Guidelines.At the beginning of the process, I did exactly what the task force members had done, Ilooked at my database and started contacting organizations via e-mail. I explained whatthe Guidelines were, how they had been developed, and why it was so critical thatorganizations begin adopting consistent language and implementing that language intotheir communications with the public.Mine was a well-meaning but largely ineffective effort. That changed thanks to someexcellent questions from one of the organizations which set us on a more effective track,although one that needs far more work. I started applying the principles of social
 
marketing to the effort - an approach which creates a framework for how we need toapproach translating any number of initiatives in drowning prevention into action.What is social marketing?As defined by Jeff French and Clive Blair-Stevens, social marketing is “the systematicapplication of marketing, alongside other concepts and techniques, to achieve specificbehavioral goals, for a social good.” (French and Blair-Stevens, 2007)More simply put, social marketing is harnessing market forces to change behavior forthe public good.Let’s break that down.Social marketing incorporates:
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Social good;
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Behavior; and
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Harnessing the power of marketing (in all its forms).The first two concepts are fairly simple. We all agree that it would be in the social goodif drowning is reduced - lower mortality rates, lower injury rates, lower costs to society.We probably agree that if people change their behavior and act responsibly and safelyaround water their chance of drowning would be reduced.What may not be so obvious is how marketing can bring about that change in behaviorfor the social good.Let’s break it down further.Philip Kotler, the guru of marketing and author of “Marketing Management” stated that,“Marketing is the set of human activities directed at facilitating and consummatingexchanges.” (Kotler, 1967)Marketing allows us to live within society. The way that we have been conditioned tothink about marketing can mean a purely commercial exchange of money for services orproducts. But marketing is not limited to commercial transactions.When you talk with colleagues in the drowning prevention community, attend aconference, or engage via social media, you are marketing. You are facilitating andconsummating an exchange - a recognition of your efforts, forming a connection ofresources and intent - you are confirming a sense of shared purpose to end drowning.When you discuss a new set of guidelines, unveil a new product or program, introducing

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