iSMA News Desk

Managed by Julie Hentz and Nathaly Aya

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Work underway to develop social marketing ethical principles

by Krzysztof Kubacki

Every social change programme faces ethical challenges that need to be recognised, acknowledged and considered during the planning, development, delivery and evaluation stages. Behaviour change that affects individuals and communities should be developed and delivered in a way that demonstrates that any potential ethical issues have been addressed. That is why social marketing practice should be guided by ethical principles.

Following popular ethics sessions at the International Social Marketing conference in Singapore in July 2018 and at the European Social Marketing conference in September 2018, social marketing organisations, including Africa Social Marketing Association, Australian Association of Social Marketing, European Social Marketing Association, Latin America Social Marketing Association, Pacific Northwest Social Marketing Association, Social Marketing Association of North America and International Social Marketing Association, have agreed to establish a social marketing ethics experts panel and work collaboratively to develop a set of ethical principles that should be applied as part of the social marketing process.

Members of the panel – Krzysztof Kubacki (chair), Lynne Eagle, Jeff French, Jim Mintz, Duncan Musumba, Inés Besada Paullier, Diogo Verissimo and Dave Ward – have met five times since November last year to identify the resources currently available to social marketers, and discuss and develop a list of potential ethical principles that may provide foundation for a future social marketing code of ethics to guide effective and ethical practice in social marketing.

The initial outcomes of the discussions will be presented by Krzysztof and Jeff at the Ethics in Social Marketing session in June 2019 at the World Social Marketing Conference in Edinburgh. All conference participants are invited to attend the session to provide their feedback and inform future work on social marketing ethical principles. Full programme of the conference can be found here:

Members of the panel express their sympathy for the family of Jim Mintz who passed away peacefully in mid-April. Jim had a long and distinguished career in the Canadian communications industry. He made a significant contribution to the development of the ethics material you will see at this conference and he will be missed by those who have been fortunate to work with him.

Last Updated on Thursday, May 16, 2019 01:25 PM
World Social Marketing Conference: Full Conference Programme Now Available



4-5 June 2019 |  Sheraton Grand Hotel | Edinburgh, UK




The World Social Marketing Conference brings together academics and practitioners from around the world, working to foster positive behaviour change. A record number of submissions have been received this year, and as a result the schedule has been adjusted to accommodate over 125 high quality presentations on social marketing and behaviour change theory and practice. The conference will have representatives from 35 countries covering a wide variety of topics including smoking cessation, wildlife conservation and driver behaviour. A number of interesting panel sessions are being offered. Patrick Cook, President of the iSMA will be chairing ‘The difference and interface between health communication, SBCC, COMBI, C4D and social marketing’. Professor Jeff French, Brigette Boonen and Dr Krzysztof Kubacki be panel members for ‘Ethics in Social Marketing’ presenting the work that is being done on new Ethical Social Marketing Standards being developed by iSMA.

There will also be a range of training workshops available exclusively to delegates before and after the main conference. For the full schedule, visit the conference website:

iSMA Board Meeting and AGM

On Tuesday June 4th , after the conference presentations have ended for the day, the iSMA board will be holding an open board meeting, followed by the Annual General Meeting. iSMA members are encouraged to attend, the board meeting will begin at 5:30. Discount Code Available for iSMA members

Don’t forget, iSMA members will receive a discount on registration for the conference. You can find the discount code in the members section of the iSMA website.

News From the iSMA Board

The February 2019 iSMA Board meeting was attended by Patrick Cook, President, Jennifer Wayman, Secretary, Julie Hentz, Communications Committee Chair, Karis Schoellmann, Treasurer, Luca Uguzzoni, Board Member-at-Large, Vilarmina Ponce, Representative of Latin American Social Marketing Association, and Win Morgan, Board Member-at-Large.

Nancy Lee has agreed to serve as the SMANA Representative on the iSMA Board, replacing Brooke Sandowsky, who is no longer at SMANA.

Our partners at the Social Marketing Quarterly (SMQ) have kindly offered iSMA members free access to their journal, as yet another advantage to membership. Work is beginning with a team of iSMA board members and WSMC organizers to shape special editions of SMQ and the Journal of Social Marketing (JSM) for release at June’s World Social Marketing Conference.

Julie Hentz presented on the status of the new organizational website which is awaiting work on a “plug-in” to establish a member portal which would be a separate space from the outfacing general content of the website. A shout out to volunteer Braden Occomore who has been dedicating many hours to the new website development and design. The Communication Committee is also seeking quality imagery
that represents a scope of Social Marketing style activities for the website and other communication channels.

Patrick has been working with Fuse Events to identify a vendor to implement a single membership database across all associations.

The Communications Committee is drafting a set of questions for a 2019 survey to help identify what members currently enjoy about membership and what they would like to see more of, or additional services that the organization might offer to serve as a meaningful forum of social marketing best practice and advancement.

A new url was voted on by the board. Heretofore, the iSMA url will be:

Win suggested iSMA sign on to Amazon’s beneficiary program that channels shopping rewards to benefit nonprofits.

Planning for the iSMA presence at the 2019 World Social Marketing Conference in Edinburgh is underway. iSMA will have a manned table and collaborate space with other regional associations.

Last Updated on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 03:36 PM
Volunteer Spotlight: Nathaly Aya Pastrana

Authored by: Julie Hentz

Please meet Nathaly Aya Pastrana, a 4+ year volunteer for the International Social Marketing Association (iSMA), from Cali, Colombia. Over the years, she has served as editor for the bi-monthly iSMA newsletter, gathering and creating valuable content for our member base, and providing ideas and direction for all other content channels. Nathaly is a valued member of our Communication Team and through her work to organize the Latin American Social Marketing Association and her broad scope of interest in Central and South America, she ensures that the region’s social marketing activities and needs are represented in the iSMA conversation.

Although Nathaly’s developing years in Colombia, Buenaventura and later Cali, were a paradise of beautiful sounds, tastes, and experiences, she also witnessed extreme economic injustice that made a profound impact on her conscience, which proved a powerful motivator to identify tools through which she could work to improve the lot of those in her country and elsewhere. Of her experience in Buenaventura, Nathaly says, “the local context was so tough that it marked my soul. This and other socio-political situations that have impacted my family history are the main motivators to work for the development of my country and to help other people/settings with similar situations, improve their conditions.”

In her undergraduate work in Business, Nathaly discovered the power of marketing and the concept of harnessing that power for social change objectives. “I believe in the power of marketing to generate change and I know there are many people who still do not know social marketing exists.” Nathaly is currently completing her work for a PhD at Universita della Svizzera italiana in Lugano, Switzerland. Her research focuses in the use of social marketing, having intersectional gender as a crosscutting theme to inform the development of the Community Health System Innovation (COHESION) Project interventions (which intends to strengthen health systems in Mozambique, Nepal, and Peru using non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) as tracer conditions). Other studies include an analysis of the communication channels used in rural communities of northern Peru to receive health information, and a content analysis of communication material at PHC level in those communities to assess how they integrate gender elements.

Nathaly has traveled extensively for her work to the countries involved in the COHESION Project and beyond. She was honored with the recognition of best PhD paper at the World Social Marketing Conference in 2017, and received the international ABERJE award for best paper on South American public relations and corporate communications at the 17th International Public Relations Research Conference in 2014. Nathaly was also featured in a review by Javeriana University as outstanding alumni. Her work has also been highlighted by Colombian national media as in 2017, when the radio network RCN interviewed her on the program “Perfiles RCN” (RCN Profiles) that recognizes Colombians abroad.

After completion of her PhD, Nathaly has targeted international development, particularly in rural populations in low and middle income countries to work to generate opportunities in socio-economic development and health. She is also interested in using her experience and knowledge base in the areas of education, health, gender equality, and transition to peace in post-conflict environments.

Nathaly is just beginning to make her mark on the world, using her social marketing expertise to positively impact the lives of so many people. For now, we are thankful to call her our team member and friend.

Last Updated on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 03:39 PM
Reflecting on and planning Social Marketing in 2019

Reflecting on and planning Social Marketing in 2019 

Patrick Cook, President iSMA


Many people find the turn of the year is a time of reflection and planning. We at the International Social Marketing Association (iSMA) are no different—reflecting on the work of the past year while planning for 2019. Here’s a brief look back, and glance forward as we continue to pursue our vision: “envisioning a world in which social marketing is a widely valued and utilized approach to improving individual and social well-being.”

Over the past year, as we have worked to implement the direction provided to us by the different social marketing associations that came together at the World Social Marketing Conference in May, 2017, the Board of iSMA has:

  • Developed and agreed to a new constitution to govern our new relationship with each other as a “federation of equals” 
  • Finalized a business plan to focus our efforts over the next three years. 
  • Held our annual general meeting in March of 2018 and elected four new Board members and, in turn, expanded our Executive Committee with a new Treasurer and Vice President.
  • Supported our colleagues in both Africa and Latin America have laid the foundations for two new member associations, the Africa Social Marketing Association and the Latin American Social Marketing Association respectively. 
  • Played a key role in the Global Alliance for Social and Behaviour Change: Building Informed and Engaged Societies, a UNICEF-led initiative working to embed behavior and social change into all the programs funded by UN organizations and other bi- and multilateral funders being guided by the Sustainable Development Goals. Dr. Doug Evans of George Washington University and Dr. Jeff French, CEO of Strategic Social Marketing have been instrumental in ensuring that social marketing is well-represented in the evidence working group, and I have been helping with the infrastructure work group. 
  • Hosted 6 webinars, exploring topics from Integrating diversity and cultural competence in social Marketing to helping consumers make decisions about what to flush and what not to flush. 
  • Worked to secure new and improved member benefits with important resources for our community, including the Social Marketing Quarterly and the World Social Marketing Conference. 

Looking forward, we have much to do. For each step, we look for your input and suggestions. Here’s a preview of what’s coming up: 

  • A new website and database for iSMA, moving our old website to a more versatile, responsive design powered by a consolidated and streamlined database that will improve the experience for existing and prospective members to join our community of social marketing professionals.
  • Our 2019 annual general meeting coming up in March 2019 and elections for up to five new board members (so start thinking about how you can shape the future of social marketing) 
  • More webinars every two months from our colleagues around the world, led by our new webinar manager, Christene Jennings, who is taking over from our long-time webinar manager, Jay Kassirer. 
  • Co-sponsoring and hosting sessions during the World Social Marketing Conference in Edinburgh, UK, June 4 & 5. 
  • More resources and support for social marketers including a position paper on ethics in social marketing and a compilation of key references outlining social marketing evidence of effectiveness. 

And there is so much more. I hope you will take a moment to read the other articles in this newsletter and the ones coming up in 2019 that describe the amazing work of our member association and colleagues doing social marketing around the world. And, at any time on any topic, I invite you to send us your thoughts and recommendations at [email protected]. 

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