This is the first in a series of posts I will write on social marketing over the next few days.
Recent research on the effectiveness of social marketing campaigns has demonstrated that some campaigns aimed at changing behaviour produce superior results while others based on the same message premise fail to meet objectives. Steering people toward healthy choices, it appears, has to go beyond the typical methods of raising awareness of an issue and highlighting rational strategies for changing behaviours. This may well be of particular importance in activities that are essential to human survival, such as sexual reproduction or food consumption, yet also hold significant health and social risks.
Therefore, it may not a matter of categorical change, but of discriminating change. A level of emotional intelligence should be appealed to and fostered through a variety of methods in order to achieve the desired behavioural changes. Research suggests that a large number of decisions are made every day in an instinctive, automatic manner, learned over time and reinforced in many subtle and explicit ways. Advances in neuroscience, in particular the ability to examine information processing and decision-making through brain scans, have enabled more clarity in how these processes might work.