Carol Schecter, vice president of health communication for the U.S. Health division at Abt Associates, called the US's 2013 Health Communications, Marketing and Media conference "A camp reunion," an "intellectual forum on social change," and "an inspirational and motivational gathering." (see If you went, what did you think? How did the sessions this year inspire you? 

You can learn more about the sessions at  

"Behind the scenes" of the Change Notes blog, the all-volunteer ISMA Communications Committee has tapped the talents of members in Canada, Jamaica, Romania, Nigeria, and the U.S. We've been busy adding interactivity, streamlining content, and bringing in new voices. Now comes the fun part!

We began last week with a guest blog post from Adeniyi Adenjose, who has traced the roots of social marketing all the way to the 1700s. Let us know what you think. Contact the communications committee at [email protected]

Today's guest blog post was written by Adeniyi Ajose, a social marketer from Nigeria. Let us know what you think, and keep sharing your excellent ideas with the communications team at [email protected]  - HBR

The Social Marketing profession seeks to further communal good and improve the general well-being of humankind. The earliest forms of the practice of this profession, which was referred to as Behavioural Change/Reformation, employed different tools for the purpose of effecting behavioural changes in individuals and communities and legislative might was a tool of choice as well as other communication activities. 

Read More

François LaGarde's field note on "Socratic Questioning Applied to Social Marketing" in the September 2013 edition of Social Marketing Quarterly, makes a compelling case for using questions to share the value social marketing principles with colleagues. As he illustrates, key questions can encourage better research and deeper thinking about the aspects of an intervention. As a supporter of the power of social marketing to give communities what they really want -- at the deepest level, as they define it -- I wholeheartedly agree with his case. 

Read More

diving board

In the coming months, as I embark on several simultaneous investigative journeys related to social change marketing, I'll share key findings on this blog space. The research will be done for classes I'm teaching, work I'm doing, and some special initiatives--but my hope is that the outcomes will bring value to your efforts as well. Please continue to let me know what topics interest you the most, so we may post what you most want to see here.

Read More

Just wanted to give a quick shout out to iSMA members from Keep America Beautiful whose latest recycling ad campaign was just featured in a New York Times article, After the ‘Crying Indian,’ Keep America Beautiful Starts a New Campaign".  Find out more about the effort at


Brazilian Social Marketer Hamilton Carvalho challenges the field of social marketing to redefine our stated end goal. Rather than focusing on "social good" as an outcome, should we be focusing on "well-being"? 

Read More

Susannah Fox of Pew Internet, has released her latest report, “Family Caregivers are Wired for Health.”

  • Fully 39% of U.S. adults are caring for a loved one, up from 30% in 2010. We are starting to see the effects of an aging population AND the financial pressures that many people are facing, especially in the “sandwich generation.” Instead of outsourcing nursing care, people are stepping up to the task, like it or not, trained or not.
  • Becoming a caregiver seems to change people as health information consumers. They turn up the volume on every information source. It’s akin to becoming a parent for the first time, but it’s not celebrated in the wider culture.

Here’s the full report:

Read More

Stuart Jackson, CEO of ICE Creates, Stuart Jackson comes from a background in retail consumer behavior. Stuart and his team have experience working for companies such as Body Shop, Kodak, and HSBC. Along the way, they were asked to do a lot of public sector / engagement work.

The ICE Creates team found they really enjoyed helping the public sector. So in 2004-2005 they started delving into who they were as a company. Stuart says, “It was values-led, rich stuff.” Next they developed their own code of behaviors, including such rules as, “Never abandon a teammate. Always be responsible. Never interrupt work flow. Have fun, life is short. Enjoy our work as well as being good.” In 2007, Stuart met Jeff French, who was then running England’s National Social Marketing Centre and ICE Creates began using the term “social marketing.”

Read More

Lean In Front CoverYou may know that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently wrote "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead," but did you know she is an advocate of social marketing (the kind we iSMA members do)? 

On page 56 of Lean In, Sandberg writes, "I… spent my second year [at Harvard Business School] studying social marketing—how marketing can be used to solve social problems—with Professor Kash Rangan. One of the cases we worked on concerned organ donations." She added, "I never forgot this case, and seventeen years later, Facebook worked with organ registries around the world to launch a tool to encourage donor registration." (See Facebook's Share your organ donor status pages.)

Read More

How will the World Social Marketing Conference in Toronto shape your work? For me, the ideas and relationships formed there promise to be incredibly influential in both my consulting practice and my volunteer work with the ISMA. 

WSMC Toronto

Read More

Ramakrishnan Ganesan Ram Ganesanhad never heard of NGOs, development work, or social marketing when he began his career in business as a market researcher selling products like soaps, shampoos, and tea. Then a colleague approached him to become a researcher at PSI. Ram said, “Basically what attracted me was this pitch that it’s always easier to market soap to a household. It is much more difficult to market family planning.” So he chose the more challenging problems to solve. Even today, as Chief of Party at Abt Associates in New Delhi, India, Ram is still driven by a challenge. 

Read More

The World Social Marketing Conference in Toronto starts today, and our goal for the ISMA blog is to share news from the conference that seems truly moving or useful for many social marketers, working in a variety of fields. Diffusing lessons and innovations to a wider audience is a critical role that ISMA plays. So we'll do our best to share some the latest thinking from top-level presenters... during the conference and over time. Follow the conference on twitter via 

If you are here in Toronto, please drop by our listening booth (booth #2). Also note that the Annual General Meeting of the International Social Marketing Association (iSMA) takes place tomorrow at 17:30 EDT. The association leaders will be discussing the start up phase, plans for moving forward, volunteer opportunities and upcoming elections for the Board of Directors. New iSMA members, including six month (trial) members, are welcome to attend... so please join us if you can!

Show Your Colours with this Embroidered iSMA Polo Shirt

US$ 27.95 benefits you and your association

The Shirt

The professional texture of a rich pique knit combines with the easy care convenience of a 55% polyester/ 45% cotton blend to make this polo an instant favorite for people with active lifestyles. The pique fabric has exceptional wicking properties to keep you comfortable when you're on the go, while the wrinkle resistant blend keeps you looking good all day long.

Read More

Susan KirbyAfter earning an undergraduate degree in business marketing and working in marketing with telecommunications giant AT&T for 10 years, Susan Kirby was drawn to the world of nutrition and physical activity. She said she was doing “the whole aerobics instruction thing” when she learned about a Masters in Public Health (MPH) program during an aerobics certification course. She said, “I found my calling in life.” She started with the MPH in behavioral sciences and health promotion, focusing on health communication.  She realized she knew a lot about marketing and that public health in the United States at the time—around 1990—was moving in that direction.  She focused her doctoral work on social marketing and health communication through independent studies (since few complete health communication programs were available at the time) in the schools of journalism, mass communication, and business (MBA). 

Susan started her public health career at Emory University, then worked in a variety of positions at CDC in health communication. She said inside CDC she worked with people who were, “dedicated, professional, passionate, and smart—who went way beyond the boundaries of their job description to get the job done.”

Read More

A famous economist known as the “Father of Modern Marketing,” Dr. Philip Kotler may be the single most influential marketing guru in the world today—with a celebrity status and a cult-like following. You may know that Dr. Kotler published the seminal article in 1971 coining the term “social marketing” in its original use. But did you know that in honor of his 75th birthday his image appeared on an Indonesian postage stamp

ISMA’s Heather Bowen Ray recently interviewed Dr. Kotler to gain insights about his most recent work using marketing to influence positive change.

Read More

Do you have compelling social marketing program results you want to convey more visually in 2013?

Despite the potential risk of blurring the lines of social marketing vs. social media marketing, we at ISMA wanted to share some tools for creating compelling infographics. Following are some free websites that can potentially help generate visually appealing charts and graphs to highlight critical information: 

ICE Creates has developed a tool called STELamodel ( that is a free online tool kit for program planning, delivery and measurement. Try it for free and share your feedback. 

Stela Model Logo

Read More

What role has product design played in your social marketing programs?

Social Marketer Nancy Lee has suggested that "product innovation is key to many people changing their behaviors." She envisions, for example, two innovations that could be standard in automobiles of the future:

  • A built-in breathalyzer (perhaps where the cigarette lighter or ashtray used to be) that will let us know our blood alcohol level at any moment.
  • A meter that tells us the anticipated cost of gas per trip based on the miles we are driving and how fast we are going--possibly yielding more economical and thus environmentally-friendly trips.

Read More

Social marketers are quick to point out that social marketing is not only about communication. Decidedly not.

Yet communication does in fact play a vital role in social-marketing related programs and other development work. Listening to the needs and wants of community members can determine success or failure in programs that seek to promote maternal and child health, prevent HIV/AIDs prevention, encourage breastfeeding, mitigate climate change, and position a host of other issues.

Read More