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Marketing, social marketing and PR have useful tools for the public and third sectors as well as private companies
Marketing, Social Marketing and PR
With good market research there is a whole range of ways
of reaching targets audiences or generating good PR.
'Cause' music can be double edged however if stars
misbehave (or the music is poor or aimed at the wrong
There is often misunderstanding from outside the marketing, social marketing or PR professions about what they do. There can be confusion within them about where the boundaries of one stops and another begins.
Marketing is not advertising. It may include it as a tiny part of its role but that is all. Strategic marketing is about deciding what markets to go into. This is helpful for social enterprises, charities and public sector providers as well as commercial companies. Amongst other things it involves looking at what customers want, what the competition is like and what potential profit is possible.
Operational marketing is about providing services (or products) that people want at the right price. This involves finding out who wants what. When market focused organisations come to promote themselves they can draw on this research. They know what key features to focus on in their messages. They know what celebrity endorsements to use if any. They know where to put their adverts so the right people see them.
This kind of approach may also suggest that using popular culture may be a good way to engage certain people. Organizations who have a marketing culture will have the research information to back this up and make it successful. Obviously this approach can be adapted for health purposes.
Social marketing is about using techniques from marketing and the social sciences to impact on people's behaviour for a social good. It has often been used to improve health, usually either by improving services or communicating more effectively. Better communication obviously ties in well with the idea of using popular culture to engage people. Key steps in social marketing include
* Set behavioural goals: Social marketers aim to get the target group to change their behaviour or to maintain it.So they might try to stop people smoking or stay as quitters
* Divide up the population: Be as precise as possible. Try not just to rely on age, class and gender classifications
* Make use of research: Find out about the target group. Why do they behave as they do in terms of health? How can they be reached? What special needs, interests or characteristics does this group have that might be useful to know about?
* Be aware of the cost of healthy behaviour: Social marketing emphasises looking at the research. Identify any hidden costs to the target group of being healthy. This does not need be financial. Reading health information that is boring 'costs' the target audience. If they will not pay this cost, the message will not get through. The answer is to make it more relevant and interesting
* Be aware of the competition: How do health agencies overcome the marketing of the big alcohol, tobacco and food companies? Do what they do better. One thing they do is link popular culture to their products. They are particularly keen on music, sport and blockbuster movies
* Make use of appropriate theory: Social marketing theory does not prescribe what theories to use. It does stress however the need to base programmes on theory
* Be creative: Use the research to try something new and appropriate with the target audience. This could include using popular culture
* Pre-test: Pilot any interventions first so improvements can be made early on
Promotional activities in marketing and social marketing tend to concentrate on a product or service or changing a specific behaviour. This often focuses on paid for advertising. PR is about overall reputation. This is the result of what organisations do and say as well as what others say as a result. One of the key roles of PR is to try to work out what might impact on reputation now and in the future. This could be because of
* The actions of the organisation itself e.g. future plans to close a local hospital
* Changes in the world it operates in e.g. legislation around equal rights in employment
* Key stakeholders' values e.g. the public being more aware of organisations' needs to be green
PR professionals have four overall ways of working
* Press Agency/Publicity model: This is mainly for celebrities. Agencies will make up stories if necessary to get publicity. Ironcially despite the link with popular culture this isn't a model that could be used to promote health
* Public information model: This has traditionally been used by some parts of the public sector. It is about simply giving people information rather than trying to persuade them to do something. Popular culture could still be used as a hook to engage people's interest in the first place
* Two-way asymetric PR: This simply means consulting with key stakeholders to find their views and trying to change them in favour of the organisation.Key stakeholders in a health context could include the public, specific subgroups within it, staff, partner agencies ,the press etc
* Two-way symetrical PR: With this approach, key stakeholders are not only consulted to find out how to influence them but also to change organisational policy itself if necessary. (So like with marketing, it would be mistake to see all PR workers as only being interested in promotion.)PR and the use of popular culture for health purposes can be a good fit. A positive image of a health organisation may well tie in with understanding how to use edutainment to engage, consult or persuade key stakeholders.
To download the whole 180 page report on using popular culture to tackle health inequalities click here
To download the PDF software to be able to view these files click here