Rowena and I are in Helsinki at the moment doing some training and project work with the Institute of Public Health and RAY, a major funder of public health work in Finland.
This morning we gave a presentation to 80 delegates on the key principles of social marketing, giving three case studies to illustrate the principles. As part of the session I set a behaviourial challenge to get the delegates to sing which, after some work, they agreed to do provided they sang a song they knew. This happened to be Row, Row, Row Your Boat. How the Finns knew this nursery rhyme in English is really surprising - some great language surprises this morning. The session also showed the power of social norms in getting delegates back from a coffee break. I asked five people (three of them the most senior people attending) to walk back to the lecture room and within 90 seconds 80% of the delegates had started moving back to the room - no need for a megaphone or to shout! The session seemed to go well, so much so, that we were interviewed (in English) for the Swedish programme on Finland's national radio station. How that will work, I don't know.
In the afternoon we worked with two groups on two different projects on how they can use social marketing principles in their work. Both groups agreed that social marketing sounded easy in the morning but it was far more difficult to actually apply it. Also, it was hard to answer the questions they needed to understand who their audiences were and what behaviour they were looking to influence. I'm sure they also found it hard as they were working on the project in a second language.
Tomorrow we continue to work on the projects and to hold another workshop for funding organisations before heading off to the sea for a sauna (and dip into the cold cold sea!)
Other social marketing and behaviour change blogs that we read: