Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Water: Use It Wisely.........
Let us begin with an extremely basic question:
How do you prompt change?
The answer that might click would be “through fear”, “Sensationalism” or a just “say NO approach”. True, it may involve some aspect of these elements, but a truly successful social marketing campaign is more likely to result from a thorough understanding of your target audience; knowing their motivations and barriers; and a sensible, clearly defined call to action that conveys obvious benefits.
Social marketing is a process that applies marketing principles and techniques to create, communicate and deliver value in order to influence target audience’s behavior that benefits society as well as the target audience. (P.Kotler, N.R.Lee, U& M.Rothschild, personal communication, September 19, 2006).
Take the issue of water conservation. In Arizona, most folks know that water is a precious commodity, but when the city of Mesa committed itself to creating and publicizing a solid conservation campaign, it was imperative that the message be delivered in a way that would not only compel viewers to conserve water but would give them the tools to do so. It wasn’t about preaching. It had to truly motivate change.
“Water-Use It Wisely” was the catalyst for change. Created in 1999 by Park&Co, a Phoenix based marketing agency, the campaign has become North America’s most comprehensive water conservation program, with over 350 private and public partners, including corporate sponsors as Lowe’s and Home Depot and outreach efforts through the EPA and USAID.
Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)
A 2004 survey conducted by the Behavior Research Center asked respondents about their awareness and recall of the campaign message, their behaviors regarding water conservation, and overall attitudes about the issue since the launch of the campaign. The findings were as follows:
8 out of 10 metro-Phoenix residents surveyed recalled the “Water-Use It Wisely” slogan.
51% recalled the slogan “There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.”
63% indicated they had seen, heard, or read information about water-saving tips at home.
The proven success of “Water-Use it Wisely” is based on two major principles of social marketing:
Identify the motivators and barriers of your target audience
Design a campaign to highlight these motivators and overcome the barriers.
In other words, the benefits from doing (or not doing) the intended behavior must outweigh the costs in order to motivate and sustain change. Additionally, the behavior must be tangible and easy to do in everyday life.
For example: “Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk and save up to 80 gallons of water” or “Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save 4 gallons a minute.”
These are just a few of the water-saving devices highlighted throughout the campaign that gave viewers clear calls to action that they could easily do.
Doug McKenzie-Mohr, the venerable ‘guru’ of social marketing, frequently expounds on these principles and illustrates in his book- “Fostering Sustainable Behavior”, that there are three reasons why people won’t change a behavior:
· They don’t know about the problem and/or how to change their behavior.
· They perceive the behavior change as too difficult.
· They believe there is greater benefit from their current behavior than the new behavior.
Steps to Successful Social Marketing- understanding through research
Authors Philip Kolter, Ned Roberto, and Nancy Lee outline in their book: “Social Marketing, Improving the Quality of Life”- twelve elements to a successful social marketing campaign.
1) Take Advantage of What is Known
The Water - Use It Wisely campaign is the product of three independent studies by Mesa, Phoenix and the Arizona Municipal Water Users’ Association. Each study revealed a consistent and compelling finding: Citizens were saying, “Don’t tell us to save water. Show us how to save.” This was the “Ah ha!” moment that helped us arrive at the creative foundation of the campaign.
2) Promote a Single, Doable Behavior, and Explain in Simple, Clear Terms
Once target markets are identified, it is imperative to communicate a clear, tangible call to action. The campaign for highlighting the water-saving device described the behavior marketers wanted their customers to adopt, and stressed its benefits, for example, “The next time you replace a flower or shrub, choose a low water use plant for year-round landscape color, and save up to 550 gallons each year.”
3) Use a Tangible Object or Service to Support the Target Behavior
The research clearly indicated that it’s not enough to just tell people to save water, it has to be shown to them how. That’s why all 100+ water saving tips have a tangible object associated with them, as a toothbrush or a wrench. The toothbrush serves as a prompt of shift in behavior by turning off the water while you brush your teeth, wherein the wrench serves as a tangible tool that can be used to fix a leaky pipe. These visual prompts help the consumer to better interact and identify with water conservation, and in turn, promote the desired behaviors that ultimately lead to the benefits associated with conserving water.
4) Understand and Address Perceived Costs and Benefits
A crucial component of the WUIW campaign was the information received through surveys regarding initial perceptions of costs and benefits with water conservation. It was these perceived costs and benefits around which the campaign was created and directed.
5) Make Access to your Message Easy
Successful social marketing campaigns provide target audiences with easy ways to sign up or take action. With Water - Use It Wisely, we call this “Omnipresence on a Budget.” We strove to have our message everywhere so that it was convenient to interact with, simple to understand, and easy to put into practice. The logo itself is a call-to-action, making the message and the resulting behaviors very accessible.
6) Develop Attention-Getting & Motivational Messages
The campaign creative featured bright, eye-catching colors with simple icons such as a watering can or wall clock to illustrate the specific water-saving devices or tips. The creativity stressed the ease at which anyone can conserve water day to day.
7) Use Appropriate Media & Create Audience Participation
The WUIW campaign used tent cards at restaurants reminding patrons that water would be served only when requested. Additionally, the campaign was promoted in several ways including: on water bills and newsletter inserts, on movie theatre slides, on airport signs, and on municipal trucks, among others.
8) Provide Response Mechanisms that Encourage Recommended Behavior
One of the best ways to demonstrate to your target market that they are making a difference by adopting the desired behavior is by showing tangible results, either on a cost or statistical basis. Billing envelopes and utility newsletters are great places to reinforce the message and the brand. With WUIW, showing consumers declines in their water consumption along with the related water savings is an undeniable and consistent way to prove the benefits of their behavior change. It is also an ideal way to continue promoting the water conservation message over time. The WUIW campaign has continued to use water bills and newsletters for these purposes.