Social marketing: Promoting social values

02 May 2013

 Drawing by Marina Danev for the “Saving energy” campaign

What impresses me most about the whole concept of social marketing is how it applies the tried-and-tested techniques of commercial marketing to ‘sell’ social values in ways that have the potential to change our behaviour and improve society as a whole.

When you think about it, social marketing is not so different from other efforts to influence public behaviour.People have different needs, of course, and form different groups in the community to resolve common issues that affect their lives. In short, they initiate different forms of association and make efforts to influence our behaviour: the same aim as that of social marketing campaigns.
Adopting a social marketing approach, we recently succeeded in ‘selling’ the benefits of saving energy to 1,600 young people from seven different municipalities (Gevgelija, Valandovo, Bogdanci, Kocani, Probistip, Kicevo and Oslomej ) who ‘bought’ into the idea of energy efficiency.

To ensure an effective social marketing campaign, we enlisted the help of the very people we were marketing to: young people. Why? Because people are often more receptive to messages coming from people they perceive as their peers.The relevant stakeholders—the municipal administration, teachers and principals and local NGOs, together with young people – agreed on the best way to deliver the message to their peers, using different channels to communicate their message: “I SAVE ENERGY!”

Young people decided to promote energy efficiency by organizing basketball, volleyball and football matches with teams in green and yellow T-shirts bearing the slogan of the campaign, symbolizing environmental care and renewable energy. Six workshops were held with lively and thought-provoking discussions on energy efficiency and ways to mitigate the effects of climate change. More than 300 young people discovered their personal carbon footprint by filling in a questionnaire.

Artistic and literary works related to energy efficiency by some hundred young people were collected and the best were exhibited during the central events of the campaign: the “Energy Efficiency Days.”The events were organized in the seven municipalities under the auspices of the mayors. “All of us should worry about saving energy, regardless of our social status. This will reduce the need for importing expensive energy into the country. Savings from the municipal and national budget will be used to meet the needs of citizens in the areas of health, education and culture", Bogdanci Mayor, Risto Ichkov said.

Personally, I really enjoyed the ballet and theatre performed as part of the social campaign prepared by young people and children in the municipality of Kocani and Kicevo. I was impressed not only by the overall idea but the inventiveness of the costumes made ​​by the young students. They were clearly sending the message to numerous audiences for environmental protection and energy saving. More than 1,200 young people exchanged their old light-bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs during Energy Efficiency Days.Promotional and educational material was distributed to more than 1,600 young people in the course of the campaign.All events, photos, drawings, essays and poems, together with comprehensive advice on protecting the environment and saving energy were published on the Facebook pages administered by young people involved in the social marketing campaign.Are you promoting social values through social marketing too? We’d love to hear from you!

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