iSMA News Desk

Managed by Julie Hentz and Nathaly Aya

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

SMANA Partnerships
“Individual commitment to a group effort -- that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi

SMANA cannot advance behavior change for social good alone, which is why we have been working hard to build partnerships, collaborate, and support others in their work; all in an effort to grow our community of practice. Some highlights include partnering with the Federal Communicators Network where we collaborated to hold a social marketing 101 webinar that reached more than 170 people, and working with the American Marketing Association’s Washington, DC and Charlottesville, VA chapters to hold successful, in-person social marketing 101 interactive seminars.

SMANA became a partner in the American Public Health Association’s, Year of Climate Change and Health campaign and attended the conference in Atlanta to represent SMANA at the invite-only Climate Change and Health Roundtable. Since this topic intersects both public health and the environment, having SMANA members work together on this issue is a win-win.

Most recently, SMANA worked with the Partnership for Food Safety to hold the first webinar in a series of four webinars about behavior change. Over 450 people joined the presentation to learn about community-based social marketing. If you have any partnership ideas to help grow and support SMANA, please email SMANA at [email protected]
Help Guide the Next Phase of your Professional Association

Two Opportunities to Get Involved in iSMA
by Patrick Cook, President

The Board of the iSMA is busy planning our annual general meeting (AGM), scheduled for March 6, 2018.

The AGM will be an opportunity for members of the iSMA to meet our current Board members, review our new business plan and constitution, and review our financial position. The AGM will also be an opportunity for you to hear more about the opportunities to contribute to the success of the iSMA and, in turn, the profession of social marketing.

We will be sending out a formal invitation to the AGM in the next couple of weeks, so look for it in your inbox. In the meantime, please mark your calendars for the March 6. Because our members are based around the world, we are holding the AGM at two times on March 6 – 5:00 pm GMT (12 pm EST) and 12 midnight GMT (7 pm EST).

Join the Board of iSMA

In a couple of weeks, we will open up nominations for new members to join our Board of Directors. You can nominate one of your fellow social marketers or self-nominate.

By being a member of our Board, you have an opportunity to network with some of the leading social marketers around the world, guide and shape how we move forward as a federation or alliance of regional social marketing associations, and provide direction to our current and new member services. Some of these services include our always-popular webinar series, our soon-to-be launched updated website, professional meetings and conferences, and other initiatives that advance the field of social marketing.

Being a Board member involves participation in at least 4 virtual meetings each year, our AGM, and helping with our workgroups and committees. According to our bylaws, Board members serve up to three years. For members elected in March, the term would begin April 1, 2018. All Board members can stand for election to our executive team (president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer), and we are actively seeking a vice-president and treasurer. So please consider this great opportunity!

In addition to our AGM invitation, we will be sending out more information about the nomination and election process in the next couple of weeks.

I hope you will join us at the AGM and consider joining us on a more regular basis as a member of our Board. Please feel free to reach out to me, or any member of our current Board, if you have any questions, would like to hear more about serving as a Board member, or have thoughts and recommendations how your professional association can serve you better.

You can reach me at [email protected].

Featured Case Study: FAN (Family, physical Activity, Nutrition)

Famiglia, Attività fisica, Nutrizione (FAN)

Project to promote physical activity and healthy food consumption

Location: Canton Ticino, Switzerland

Target:  Families with children in elementary and first two classes of middle school

Edition 1:  556parents,750 children

Edition 2: 360 parents, 397 children

Length: Two editions each of 8 weeks. Edition one started on 04 October 2010. Edition two started on 10 April 2012.

Behavior: Encourage initiation, improvement, and/or maintenance of healthy nutrition and regular physical activity


  • BeCHANGE Research Group, Università della Svizzera italiana (USI), Lugano Switzerland
    • Prof. Suzanne Suggs, Associate Professor of Social Marketing and Chair of the European Social Marketing Association
    • Dr. Natalie Rangelov, Post-doctoral Researcher and Lecturer in Social Marketing
  • Health Promotion and Evaluation Service, Department of Health and Social Affairs of Canton Ticino, Switzerland
  • Health Promotion Switzerland

Famiglia, Attività fisica, Nutrizione (FAN) is a social marketing intervention aimed to encourage the initiation, improvement, and/or maintenance of healthy nutrition and physical activity among children in elementary and middle school and their parents. It was implemented in Ticino Switzerland, a state located in the most southern part of the country and where they have the highest rates of obesity and overweight.

FAN was developed by the BeCHANGE Research Group at Università della Svizzera italiana in collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Affairs of Canton Ticino, and Health Promotion Switzerland. The intervention was conducted in parallel to school and community based initiatives within the Department of Health and Social Affair’s “Health Body Weight” program.

FAN was the only tailored technology-based program targeting families directly in their homes.

FAN focused on families with children in elementary and first two classes of middle school and was implemented in two editions, each lasting 8 weeks. The first edition (visit site) started on the 4th of October  and ended on the 11th of November, 2010,  and the second (visit site) took place from April 10th to June 3rd, 2012. Participation was free of charge.

Using the eight social marketing benchmarks facilitated a robust understanding of the context, including real and perceived barriers at the individual, structural, commercial, and policy levels. Desk research, focus groups, interviews and interactions with parents and children informed the development of the strategies based on their reported needs and wants. Understanding the real and perceived barriers and facilitators permitted creating a valuable exchange by positioning healthy diet and physical activity as achievable behaviors for all and make life better (performance at school, better able to play hard, feel better, can be fun, easy, and affordable). It also informed the decisions to promote local, affordable activities and products in manner that was appropriate for participants.

Parents were segmented according to their gender, which behavior was more difficult; diet or physical activity, number and gender of children, and child’s most difficult behavior. Children were segmented based on their gender and grade at school. Content was tailored to all participants and informed by the Theory of Planned Behavior. Content was provided to parents using a website, SMS, e-mail and by printed letters to children.

Families expressed a high interest in FAN. In the first edition, 556 families with 750 children enrolled; more than double what was expected. By the end of the intervention parents reported changes in their behaviors related to physical activity and nutrition. They increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables, and moderately increased physical activity. Children’s Fruit consumption increased, consumption of sweets decreased, and vegetable consumption increased for the children whose parents received SMS. Parents evaluated FAN as very positive and stated that FAN helped their families remember to eat healthy and be physically active.

Suggested resources to know more about FAN:

(Rangelov, Della Bella, Marques Vidal, & Suggs, 2018; Rangelov & Suggs, 2015; Suggs, Della Bella, & Marques-Vidal, 2016; Suggs, Rangelov, Rangel Garcia, & Aguirre Sanchez, 2013)

Rangelov, N., Della Bella, S., Marques Vidal, P., & Suggs, L. S. (2018). Does additional support provided through e-mail or SMS in a Web-based Social Marketing program improve children’s food consumption? A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrition Journal.
Rangelov, N., & Suggs, L. S. (2015). Using Strategic Social Marketing to Promote Healthy Nutrition and Physical Activity Behaviors to Parents and Children in Switzerland: The Development of FAN. Cases in Public Health Communication & Marketing, 8, 27–50.
Suggs, L. S., Della Bella, S., & Marques-Vidal, P. (2016). Low adherence of Swiss children to national dietary guidelines. Preventive Medicine Reports, 3, 244–249.
Suggs, L. S., Rangelov, N., Rangel Garcia, M., & Aguirre Sanchez, L. (2013). FAN – Famiglia, Attività fisica, Nutrizione: Ticino Switzerland’s campaign for healthy weight. In G. Hastings & C. Domegan (Eds.), Social marketing, from tunes to symphonies. Routledge, UK.
Global Consensus Brings “A Necessary Marker” to Social Marketing Field
Written by Patrick Cook   

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.

Creating a Federation of Equals in the Social Marketing Community

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].

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