The Center for Public Health Practice (CPHP) and the Department of Health Promotion & Community Health (HPCH) at the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) in AUB, organized an interactive executive workshop on Social Marketing for Public Health. The workshop, held from 12 to 14 December, was facilitated by the renowned international expert in Public Health Branding and Social Marketing Dr. W. Douglas Evans, from Milken Institute School of Public Health in George Washington University, and the expert in eHealth Communication, Dr. Marco Bardus, from FHS-AUB.
Over the course of three days, around 20 professionals comning from various backgrounds, such as academic institutions, local and international NGOs, UN agencies, and governmental entities, were introduced to the basic principles, practices, and outcomes of Social Marketing applied to health promotion, public health, as well as social and behavior change. Participants analyzed examples of local and international social marketing initiatives using frameworks and benchmark criteria commonly used in the discipline. They also explored different ways to apply Social Marketing to various public health issues, as well as the innovative approaches to social marketing in the areas of mobile and social media, branding and brand research. The workshop also focused on the development of messages and branding strategies to promote healthy lifestyles.
During the workshop, trainees were split into groups to develop social marketing initiatives addressing public health issues they identified as relevant. This way workshop participants could apply the knowledge gained on social marketing for public health, by using different techniques acquired, and choosing the appropriate approaches to develop their campaigns. Groups worked on key topics such as promoting healthy food and decrease child obesity in schools, reducing the parent-child communication gap on sexual and reproductive health, and decreasing waterpipe tobacco smoking among teenagers.
Trainers addressed the different steps for a successful social marketing planning, including understanding the problem, defining goals and objectives (behavioral and communication), understanding and segmenting the target audience, defining the marketing mix (product, price, place, and promotion). The workshop culminated with the creative development of a brief for an advertising agency which included suggestions for branding the campaign and for using mobile-based communication strategies.