iSMA News Desk

Managed by Julie Hentz and Nathaly Aya

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

The Social Marketing Association of North America (SMANA) Holds Its Inaugural Social and Behavior Change Forum in Washington, DC

By Gerda Gallop-Goodman, SMANA member

The Social Marketing Association of North America (SMANA) held its inaugural Social and Behavior Change Forum on October 10, 2018 in partnership with the Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC) Conference at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The theme of the forum: Leveraging the Intersections: Bringing together social issues, perspectives, and change agents to unlock today’s challenges, explored the intersections of health and the environment.

More than 65 attendees from across different behavior change sectors participated in the half-day event that began with a keynote address by Shannon Kraus, executive vice president at HKS Architects, on the role of design thinking in making meaningful change in our communities, health and healthcare. Through compelling examples, he showed the association between our health and the environment— where we live impacts how we live—and how design solutions can help improve our health. A panel discussion on unlocking today’s challenges in the area of food, included presentations on nutrition education interventions in Maryland schools, sustainable diets and the Meatless Monday Project, and reducing food waste/food recovery.

Selected presenters from Hager Sharp, Vanguard, and Rescue provided case studies on these timely social marketing in public health topics: increasing the quality of health care providers’ HPV vaccination recommendations, helping patients survive stroke, and social marketing strategies for preventing and reducing opioid misuse. A session of short presentations or “lightning talks” covered a diverse range of social and behavior change topics on urban transportation, financial savings, global conservation, sustainability and auto repair shops, and consumption behaviors and culture. And to close out the afternoon, participants had the opportunity to discuss issues and ideas generated from the forum as part of topic-specific roundtables on the environment, research, and health. Following the forum, attendees were invited to attend a networking happy hour to continue the conversation and meet other social marketing colleagues.

“No one of us can do this alone,” said Sandra Paredes, SMANA President, in her closing remarks. “This is about mobilizing our entire community. We’re trying to make a better world. We need to break out of our silos. The more we hear from each of us, the more we’ll stay connected.”

Entercom, a media and entertainment company, was the Innovator Sponsor of the forum. Caryn Ginsberg of Priority Visuals created graphic recordings from the presentations.

Last Updated on Friday, December 07, 2018 02:14 PM
6th Annual SPARKS Conference: A Brief Summary
Written by Nancy Lee   

 SPARKS is an annual social marketing conference of almost 200 attendees, organized by the Pacific Northwest Social Marketing Association featuring over a dozen social marketing professionals from across the Pacific Northwest speaking (TED Talk style) about behavior change campaigns and insights related to environmental protection, community engagement, public health and advanced theory.

Here are some snapshots of the topics that will be addressed on the main day of this year’s conference:
  • Environmental Protection
  • o   Wildfires
  • o   Farm conservation
  • o   Altering our language to inspire environmental action
  • o   Going Solar through Peer-to-Peer Marketing
  • Community Engagement
  • o   The power of transcreation
  • o   The need to develop culturally elastic campaigns
  • o   Pro-active tools for opioid prevention
  • o   Effective engagement practices with diverse communities to promote methods of safer cleaning
  • o   Testing qualitative research methods
  • o   Expanding the ways that we think about change
  • Public Health
  • Advanced Theory in Behavior Change

This year, the conference will occur on Monday, December 10th from 9:00am to 4:00pm & an optional second day, Tuesday, December 11th from 9:30am to 4:00pm and will be held at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

The conference also includes an optional second day dedicated to expert-led (including Doug McKenzie-Mohr) in-depth workshops on intermediate and advanced social marketing practices and processes. This year, the day has two primary points of focus: 1) effective ways to spark behavior change depending on the levels of barriers and motivations your program is facing and, 2) evaluation strategies for social marketing practices. Learn more about Day Two here.

The goal of the SPARKS conference is to unite people who represent a wide range of professional fields and disciplines who are passionate about tackling the “Wicked Problems” that exist in their respective fields. Fundamentally, our hope is to provide you with a richer, more robust social marketing toolkit that you can carry into your own professional life.


We can’t wait to see you there!

Global Alliance for Social and Behavioral Change Creates Momentum for Building Informed and Engaged Societies

iSMA Inaugural Participant of the Alliance
By Patrick Cook, September 26, 2018

Washington, DC – Just over a year ago, 40 development and behavior change communication and marketing professionals from around the world gathered at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) headquarters in New York to develop a “global mechanism” for ensuring that behavior change professionals are at the table when planning, implementing, and evaluating development programs and initiatives. iSMA was there.

The ”mechanism” now has a name, a charter, and a whole lot of momentum as we head into a year of building and advocacy on behalf of the social and behavior change professions. Meet the Global Alliance for Social and Behavior Change – Building Informed and Engaged Societies. As outlined on its temporary website, the Alliance also a vision, a mission, and some clear goals (not to mention a lot of hard work by some committed members):

Fully informed and engaged societies working to achieve equity and realize their rights.

Advance the scale, quality, impact and sustainability of communication for development, media
for development, social change and behavioral
change strategies.

(1) Expand policy influence of this perspective and experience; (2) Capture and communicates
the most compelling evidence; (3) Support the scale up of this work; (4) Improve the quality of
this work; and (5) Promote higher levels of funding support for this work.

The inaugural group of 20 different development organizations and agencies have pulled
together over the past year to focus on three main initiatives:

  1. Highlight the evidence and impact of social and behavior change approaches
  2. Develop compelling tools to “expand the policy influence” of these approaches on policymakers and program designers, especially those who have committed their agencies to the sustainable development goals of the UN.
  3. Put an infrastructure in place to support this work in the long term.

These three initiatives came together at the recent UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the UN’s annual gathering that came out of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). At the Forum, the Alliance hosted an event and briefing for policymakers and program directors attending the Forum to ensure social and behavior change is on the their radars as they plan – and fund – more programs focused on bringing about lasting social change across a wide number of issues, from the environment and social justice to child and maternal health and education.

ISMA’s participation has been integral to getting the Alliance up and running. Through the efforts of iSMA member and chair of the World Social Marketing Conference, Jeff French, at last year’s conference in Washington, DC, the iSMA was invited to attend the organizing meeting of the Alliance. Social Shift’s Craig Lefebvre and I attended the meeting, chaired by Rafael Obregon, Chief of the Communication for Development Section at UNICEF New York. Since this meeting, George Washington University’s Doug Evans has been participating in the Evidence and Impact workgroup on behalf of iSMA, and I continue to be involved with the Infrastructure and Policy workgroups.

For more information about the initiative and next steps, please feel free to contact me at
[email protected]

Last Updated on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 05:09 PM
Introducing the Newly Elected iSMA Board Members

The iSMA Board is honored to welcome three new members who were elected from a pool of many impressive candidates. Diogo Verissimo, PhD, Karis Schoellmann, MPH, and Luca Uguzzoni will be supporting the work of the International Social Marketing Association for a 3-year term. Please get to know Luca, Karis, and Diogo and their impressive social marketing experience through the following overviews.

Karis Schoellmann, MPH has worked in Women’s Health and Maternal Child Health throughout a career that spans 30-years, including work at Planned Parenthood of Louisiana and with the Louisiana Department of Health in their Maternal and Child Health Program. She is currently working as the Director of the Communication, Innovation, and Action Team at the Louisiana Department of Health’s Bureau of Family Health. Karis is also a faculty member at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, where she teaches Introduction to Social Marketing, Health Communication: Theory and Practice, and Social and Behavioral Aspects of Global Health courses.
Two ongoing Bureau of Family Health initiatives in which Karis has played a key role and uses social marketing behavior change frameworks, are the Partners for Healthy Babies and the Give Your Baby Space campaigns. Both campaigns, designed to reduce Louisiana’s infant mortality, are targeted to parents and families. Other current work with which Karis is involved includes using social marketing frameworks in a more upstream approach to impact providers to effectively address the social determinants of health involving women’s wellness. 
Karis takes her role in guiding and inspiring the next generation’s global public health workforce seriously. In fact, her desire to join the iSMA board was inspired by this motivation. Karis has been elected by the iSMA Board to the position of Treasurer as Kelly Dennings steps down.

Luca Uguzzoni is currently working with the Ambi Group as a Marketing Brand Consultant in Lugano, Switzerland. Over his 30-year career in marketing and branding, Luca has worked on projects with UBS bank, Bank Julius Baer, Nespresso, Unicredit, Bolton, Vorwerk, and top global sporting events like the Winter and Summer Olympic Games, America’s Cup Sailing, World Championships and World Cups. He cites his time living in Valencia, Spain while working with the America’s Cup International Sailing Competition, as significant. “I was able to witness how the city transformed when America’s Cup was held there.  It was the perfect example of a ‘smart city concept’ in action. My passion is to improve urban well-being and to create and implement sustainable and inclusive opportunities for all.” Luca guides clients’ marketing operations to include sustainability initiatives, and encourages them to realize the ecological and social responsibilities they have to their stakeholders and the community. “One of the most significant projects I’ve worked on, was producing a solar-powered racing car named ‘Emilia’. The car was built by a group of small companies based in the ‘motor valley’ in Italy, who were committed to developing a car powered by solar energy. Emilia, was built and became a strong competitor at the ‘World Solar Challenge’’ in Australia, the premiere global competition in this category of cars.
Through his new commitment to iSMA, Luca sees unique opportunities to create shared value with other organisations through strategic partnerships. The work of iSMA provides concrete possibilities to develop projects that combine social & sustainable principles.  This collaboration will aim to embrace the creation of well-crafted ideas where the outcome is measured against defined objectives.

Diogo Verissimo, PhD earned his Doctorate in Biodiversity Management from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. His latest work in press is,” Does It Work for Biodiversity, Experiences and Challenges in the Evaluation of Social Marketing Campaigns. Social Marketing Quarterly. He is also currently Guest Editor at the Social Marketing Quarterly for a Special Issue on Biodiversity Conservation and Social Marketing.
Diogo has devoted his career to the conservation of biodiversity using social marketing approaches, from research to evaluation, to make a positive impact in these areas, including the use of conservation marketing as a tool to promote human-wildlife coexistence.” Diogo is currently an Oxford Martin Fellow at the University of Oxford, UK, where he focuses on the design and evaluation of behaviour change interventions to reduce demand for wildlife products, a key part of mitigating the threat of the illegal wildlife trade on wildlife populations. One of Diogo’s first social marketing projects focused on sea turtle conservation in São Tomé and Principe, a tiny island country in West Africa. Due to this work, as well as improved enforcement, poaching of sea turtles has been reduced by 90%. As Diogo looks forward to his work with the iSMA Board, he is keen to explore ways to foster
the growth of the community of social marketers working on biodiversity-related issues, and to promote information exchange between academics and practitioners working in social marketing, both through the literature and other non-formal channels. Diogo has been elected by the iSMA Board to the position of Vice President.

Please help us welcome Luca, Diogo, and Karis to our Board. We are thrilled to have their support and are excited about the impressive and diverse level of expertise they bring to our organization.

Last Updated on Monday, October 01, 2018 04:22 PM
Broadening Cultural Horizons in Social Marketing
Written by Nathaly Aya Pastrana   

The International Social Marketing Conference 2018, organized by the Australian Association of Social Marketing (AASM) in collaboration with James Cook University (JCU), took place in Singapore 15-16 July and culminated with a doctoral colloquium on 17 July. A total of 77 paper submissions were received and 53 were accepted. The conference organizers thank individuals who submitted their work and those who participated in the different keynotes, special sessions, panel sessions, paper presentation sessions and in the doctoral colloquium.

A total of 70 delegates representing countries from Asia and the Pacific congregated to share knowledge and experiences in social marketing field in the region. On the first day participants were welcomed by Dr. Abhishek Bhati, Dean JCU Singapore, and Professor Lynne Eagle, JCU Australia, opening remarks by Bruce Gosper, Australian High Commissioner to Singapore; and keynotes by Bernard Harrison, former executive director of the Singapore Zoo and by Teo Ser Luck, Singapore parliamentarian and ex minister, introduced delegates to the
conference. The second day started with key notes by Marieke Bink, Cyclying without Age Singapore, and Choong Weng Wai, Associate Professor, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

The conference had special sessions covering the following topics: ethics in social marketing, creating and accessing value, synthesizing benchmarks and planning steps, macro social marketing, and one session dedicated to discuss about a regional social marketing association for the Asia-Pacific. A panel session was
organized to discuss critical issues in social change in the Asia-Pacific. Paper sessions covered the following themes:

  • Environment and sustainability
  • Advancing theory in social marketing
  • Individual group community and/or organizational wellbeing
  • Creating and accessing value
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Non-mainstream communities and groups
  • Trans-disciplinary research in social change
  • Innovative and new research methods in social marketing and social change
  • research
  • Policy legislation and upstream social marketing

The ISMC conferred two best paper awards to Taylor Willmott and Sharyn Rundle- Thiele for the paper “Advancing social marketing: A reciprocal 4-step theory application process (TITE)”, and Amy Wilson, Svetlana Bogomolova, Cathy Nguyen, Timothy Olds and Byron Sharp for the paper “How healthy habits grow: Expanding marketing empirical generalisations to physical activity”.

A doctoral colloquium was held on 17 July that consisted in presentations by PhD students and by discussions related to life as a PhD student. In the first part of the colloquium, three PhD students presented their work and received constructive feedback. In the second part facilitators provided insights on the following topics:
Supervision and supervisors, the publication game, communicating the research topic, research ontology and epistemology, issues with research methodology, and provided tips for managing the PhD.

The conference success has encouraged discussions to host smaller social marketing events in Singapore in the near future, before the next ISMC in 2020.

Last Updated on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 03:14 PM
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