iSMA News Desk

Managed by Julie Hentz and Nathaly Aya

Have an article you would like to share? Contact [email protected]

iSMA is pleased to announce the release of the “Global Consensus On Social Marketing Principles, Concepts and Techniques,” a brief paper that provides essential guidance to social marketers around the world.

Developed by a 13-member working group chaired by Professor Jeff French (ESMA) over the past two and half years, the Global Consensus paper represents a broad agreement about the fundamental concepts and central principle of social marketing. To date, in addition to iSMA, it has been endorsed by AASM, ESMA, SMANA, and our newest member association, Asociación Latinoamericana de Mercadeo Social.


By Patrick Cook, President, International Social Marketing Association (iSMA).

In May, 2017, the Board of the iSMA voted to explore moving our association toward a federation, or alliance, of professional associations representing social marketing professionals around the world. Currently, we have four “regional” associations—Australian Association of Social Marketers (AASM), European Social Marketing Association (ESMA), Pacific Northwest Social Marketing Association (PNWSMA), and the Social Marketing Association of North America (SMANA). Groups in both Africa and Latin America have also started discussions about forming a professional association of social marketers in their area.

As a result, the Executive Team of the iSMA Board—Kelley Dennings (Treasurer), Jennifer Wayman (Secretary) and myself—sought more detailed input from our four regional associations and developed a draft strategic business plan and budget to guide our efforts over the next three years. The full Board discussed the draft plan during our meeting in September (see our meeting minutes here), and agreed to refine and finalize the draft plan. Here are some of the highlights from this plan:

A Federation of Equals. In order to reduce “competition” among our associations, iSMA will restructure itself into a federation, an alliance of independent member associations that share a common approach—social marketing—to address the challenges and solve the “wicked problems” faced by communities, states, and nations around the world. The member associations will initially be defined by region (e.g., Africa, Asia, Pacific Rim, North America, Europe, etc.). At a later date, iSMA may choose to define a member association in other ways such as by practice area. By implementing a new federated structure for iSMA, we will be better able to foster, encourage, and support the growth of our profession.

Support and Coordinate. As the hub of our new alliance, iSMA will always seek to support and coordinate rather than initiate and compete with the products or services offered by the member associations. For example, if a member association is developing an online learning library, then iSMA will work with the member association to determine how the library can be made available to all member associations rather than start a competing service.

Priority Products and Services. As a hub, iSMA will provide value to the profession of social marketing by offering some priority products services to all members of the regional associations that participate in our federation. Some of these include:

  • Association mentorship program to support the establishment of new member associations.
  • Membership management system to support recruitment, registration, and retention of members for our member associations.
  • Professional development program to support professional growth and development of our members including in-person conferences, meetings, webinars, publications, and more.
  • Professional standards resource center to encourage the adoption and implementation of common standards, concepts, and ethical approaches to the practice of our profession.
  • Advocacy program to encourage national, bilateral, and multilateral funding agencies and foundations to make social marketing a fundamental part of their programs and initiatives.
  • Engagement platform to promote member associations and iSMA to new members and encourage existing members to participate in services and events offered by member associations and iSMA.

While there are many ideas and no lack of enthusiasm for what iSMA can offer to the community of social marketing associations and professionals, it will be important for our small, volunteer-run associations to establish which of these and many other products and services are a priority and which ones can wait for another day. Over the coming months, we will establish these priorities, with input from the member associations, and you, our membership. We hope to make have a final plan in place for our Annual General Meeting in early 2018.

In the meantime, if you have questions, have some great ideas, or want to offer up a cautionary tale, then please get in touch with me ([email protected]) or any member of the Board [link to Board bios and contact info on website].



Fostering Behaviour Change and Sustainable Health Markets through Social Marketing

The Uganda Social Marketing Conference (USMC) 2017 was held October 12-13, 2017 at the Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala. The conference was organised by Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG) with the stewardship of the Ministry of Health. The conference was preceded by a 2-day training in social marketing that was conducted by the world’s renowned Social Marketing and Social Behaviour Change Communication experts including Nancy R Lee. The social marketing training was attended by 66 participants from across the social marketing fraternity in Uganda and across the East African region.

This Uganda’s first Social Marketing Conference was organised under the theme: “Fostering behavior change and sustainable health markets through social marketing”. The USMC 2017 was attended by over 300 participating from across social marketers in Uganda and in the East African Region.

The conference got tremendous support from key stakeholders notably the Ministry of Health and USAID, and partners including the Palladium, EXP Social Marketing, PSI Uganda, Mariestopes Uganda, Living Goods, PATH, among others take active participation.

The conference provided the much needed platform to share best practices and nurture the social marketing field in Uganda for increased impact. The conference brought together funders, practitioners, academicians, policymakers, researchers and the commercial sector to explore the opportunities that social marketing presents in Uganda. The Uganda Social Marketing Conference was dedicated to building a community of action that seeks to capture and spread good practice in social marketing.

The conference provided a foundation for individuals to enhance their understanding of and make an active contribution to social marketing in Uganda. This conference was the first of its kind in Uganda, and further seeks to initiate the African Social Marketing Association, a movement that will go beyond Uganda to integrate other Social Marketers on the African continent.






These are some of the many good news from the Australian Association of Social Marketing:

  • The AASM ran a very successful and sold out seminar in Perth Western Australia organised by Luke van der Beeke 'Influencing Community Behaviours - Insights from the Field' featuring insights on storytelling, cognitive neuroscience, behavioural economics, road safety segmentation, human centred design, and mobile apps for behaviour change. AASM committee member Tracey Bridges wrote a blog about the event here:
  • Forthcoming AASM Events are being held in Brisbane 16/11/17 on design thinking, and social enterprise, and Sydney 23/11/17 - networking drinks with Tom Carroll. A one day symposium is planned in Melbourne on 6/11/17. Details on the AASM website:
  • The call for papers for the International Social Marketing Conference in Singapore 15-16 July 2018 is now live. The focus for the conference is on broadening cultural horizons in social marketing and bringing together people, ideas and examples of behaviour and social change work across the Asia-Pacific region. Details on the website:
  • The AASM is delighted to announce Abi Badejo as their new Queensland Hub Lead. Abi is a Research Fellow at Social Marketing @Griffith and a Development Communications Consultant with over 13 years' experience across private and public sectors, including Higher Education, State Government, and International Development. Driven by her passion for social justice and love of complex problem-solving, Abi's PhD sought to understand human trafficking as a social issue in Nigeria through a formative multi-stream social marketing approach.
  • The AASM is commencing a consultation process on transforming to an inclusive and representative regional social marketing association for the Asia-Pacific region. To get involved please contact: [email protected]

This year has been a fun-filled networking bonanza with more than 300 social marketers participating in events across the United States! SMANA members coordinated and led networking events in Boston, Mass.; Baltimore, M.D.; Durham, N.C.; New Orleans, La; New York, N.Y; Ottawa, Canada; San Diego, Calif.; San Francisco, Calif; and Washington, DC. Partner groups also coordinated events in Seattle, Wash. and Denver, Colo. There are still events to be held in Atlanta, G.A. and Tampa, F.L. before the end of the year.

Thank you to our 2017 hosts: American University’s School of Communication and Kogod School of Business, C+C East, Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, Eureka Facts, JSI, PCI Media Impact, Porter Novelli, Rare, Tulane University, and USF College of Public Health.

These events brought social marketers together to advance behavior change for social good. If you would like to host a networking event please contact the SMANA Programs Committee at [email protected]. Keep an eye out for future 2018 events on the SMANA website and listserv.

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