What impresses me most about the whole concept of social marketing is how it applies the tried-and-tested techniques of commercial marketing to ‘sell’ social values in ways that have the potential to change our behaviour and improve society as a whole.
When you think about it, social marketing is not so different from other efforts to influence public behaviour.
People have different needs, of course, and form different groups in the community to resolve common issues that affect their lives. In short, they initiate different forms of association and make efforts to influence our behaviour: the same aim as that of social marketing campaigns.
Adopting a social marketing approach, we recently succeeded in ‘selling’ the benefits of saving energy to 1,600 young people from seven different municipalities (Gevgelija, Valandovo, Bogdanci, Kocani, Probistip, Kicevo and Oslomej ) who ‘bought’ into the idea of energy efficiency.
To ensure an effective social marketing campaign, we enlisted the help of the very people we were marketing to: young people.
Why? Because people are often more receptive to messages coming from people they perceive as their peers.
Benjamin Franklin famously quipped that the only things certain in life are death and taxes.
Not yet sure about death , but British fiscal authorities have been at pains to collect taxes as many Britons apparently procrastinated about paying them on time (after all, J.M. Keynes once mentioned that the avoidance of taxes was the only intellectual pursuit that carried any reward ).
In one experiment, British Courts Service sent personalized text messages to remind people to pay their fines on time. As a result, bailiff interventions were reduced by 150,000 and £30 million was saved.
In another town, telling people that their neighbours had already paid their taxes resulted in a 15 percent rise in tax collection and another £30 million in extra revenue.
Collection of car taxes provides yet another eloquent example. The respective tax service sent a letter to non-payers containing a banner headline suggesting pay your tax or lose your car. This alonedoubled the number of people paying the tax; when the letter was personalized with a photo of the car in question, it tripled.
Citizens in Montenegro are now equipped with a new mobile app “Be Responsible,” to help them transform them into vigilant reporters, scanning the country for illegal waste dumps, misuse of official vehicles, irregular parking, roadblocks, and failure to comply with tax regulations.
The app was developed by several teachers, current and former students of the University of Montenegro’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering who teamed up to take part in Open Ideas for Montenegro (in Montenegrin), a social innovation project designed out of sheer belief in the transformative power of technology.
This May marked the finale of months-long efforts to empower citizens.
The experience of our colleagues’ work in Armenia and Ukraine and inspired us to engage citizens directly, going beyond the usual suspects and reaching those who tend to be left out of public consultations. Read more »
10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3 Yes we are indeed counting down to launch the Shared Words language learning game. Well, not just yet but we are almost there!
Shared Words project has been an interesting project and a starting point that has the potential to affect, motivate, and contribute to rapprochement between the two major communities of the island.
Shared Words project is not only about language learning through the use of common words between languages. It is the outcome of a peacebuilding philosophy that looks for common ground between different cultures, nations, or backgrounds.
The desired objective is not only to build communication with each other, but also to hopefully touch the hearts of people to relieve them from the grieves and hatred of the past, and from the doubt and fear of the future. Read more »
I told you about our foray into behavioural economics and invited you to join – and I even gave you some homework. Now I want to offer some examples of what behavioural economics looks like in practice, in the hope of starting to think about how we can apply it to our work. (Keeping in mind that there is some criticism of the approach too.)
Many governments have put forward a series of monetary incentives (tariffs and subsidies) to drive down private energy consumption. Behavioural economics shows certain progress can be achieved withoutprice-incentives. Here are two examples.
In one case, a community of around 80,000 households received monthly and quarterly letters that compared the energy use of their neighbours. The programme resulted in a two percent decrease in energy consumption compared to the baseline. This progress demonstrates influence of “social norms” at work: we tend to follow others – we do what others are already doing. Thus, those who saw that they consumed above average reduced their consumption. To eliminate the risk that those with little consumption would “strive” to the average, a “happy” face was added to convey social approval (pdf).
The Danish Nudging Network conducted an experiment placing reminder signs next to light switches to prompt students to turn off the lights when they leave their rooms. Reportedly, the signs resulted in a 20 to 26 percent reduction of lights being left on. This example outlines the influence of “salience”: our attention is drawn to what is novel and seems relevant to us.
We tend to use Twitter as a source of real time or, at least, close to real time news update channel. You might have seen, or even participated in, live tweeting sessions, following colleagues or friends, reading news from newspapers without actually buying them and so on and so forth.
Fortunately, all these interactions are captured and stored in Twitter and are freely available via API – Twitter is quite an open system.
Assumption: If a group of Twitter users are following the same account, it means this Twitter account has an influence over the group. And it is as big as the number of users who are following it.
For example: if all members of a particular government are reading the same newspaper via Twitter (no conspiracy, it could just be National Geographic) it means that messages sent from that newspaper are being at least read by them, and therefore are somewhat influencing their thinking.
Probe: I created a visualization of Twitter group connections. By default it displays the group of UNDP accounts collected and processed so far (around 100 individual and institutional Twitter accounts as of 14 May, 2013).
Findings: The following are results of a quick look into the visualization. They are definitely not 100 percent bulletproof – and to be scientific, we have to include many more Twitter handles into respective groups, but some trends are pretty obvious: Read more »
Q: What are the specific issues that transgender people face in this part of the world?
Kirill Sabir: For us, the main issue is that we’re somewhere in the middle. We can’t say that we have a very bad situation as in some countries for example where they criminalize homosexual relationships, and this causes difficulties for all [lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender] (LGBT) community, and at the same time, we are not that advanced as in the United States, where LGBT rights are recognized.
So, for transgender people in particular, the main obstacle is that our legislation is mostly incomplete, which means that we have the legislative possibility to change sex, to undergo sex reassignment, we have diagnosis and doctors, but there is no specific procedure in most CIS countries.