National Social Marketing Centre

News and Events

  • The dark side of nudging?

    Aiden Truss, Monday, January 31, 2011 - 12:08

    I had a call last week from someone concerned that our involvement in behaviour change at The NSMC was somehow directed toward something a bit more nefarious; along the lines of mind control over vulnerable target groups. I suppose that we were implicated in what you might call the 'dark side of nudging' due to the mention of psychological techniques being mentioned in the mainstream press in recent articles on behavioural nudges.

  • Behavioural economics and social marketing: long-time bedfellows?

    Friday, January 28, 2011 - 02:00

    If policymakers and service providers changed ourselves rather than the public, could we achieve lasting behaviour change?

    According to Dr Bill Smith, the answer is emphatically yes. Posing the question at today's NSMC breakfast seminar, Behavioural economics and social marketing – lessons from the US, the American social marketing expert argued that the public services are too focused on trying to alter consumers.

  • Nudging in the BMJ

    Aiden Truss, Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 12:08

    Obviously, we at The NSMC are fascinated with all things behavioural. So, it's been interesting to see an alternative viewpoint to the government's nudging policies evaluated from a scientific rather than a knee-jerk libertarian perspective.

    Published yesterday in the British Medical Journal, Judging nudging: can nudging improve population health? (available for free, though you'll need to register!), discusses the possible pitfalls of nudging as opposed to using legislation and whole population approaches.

  • Who pays the piper?

    Guest blogger, Tuesday, January 25, 2011 - 12:08

    Bill Smith.

    Following on from John Bromley's piece yesterday on Michael Porter and 'shared value', our guest blogger is Bill Smith, one of the world's leading specialists in social marketing and social change. In this article, Bill gives his view. 

    Porter makes some interesting points in his recent article and BBC interview. Question: Will his vision of shared value − "companies solving social problems and making a buck too" − put social marketing out of business? Well, let's hope so, but don't plan on it.

    Porter's idea raises an interesting perspective for us as social marketers. Isn't social marketing functionally a mechanism to fix a fundamental flaw in the commercial marketing system, namely in how the poor are served? Social marketing provides products and services to people who cannot afford to pay for them; or put another way, the commercial guys have not found a way to provide products and services cheap enough for a segment of the population to pay for. Therefore, condoms are subsidised; advice on cancer screening is given away free; and immunisation campaigns overcome people fears of vaccines (or at least when they work, they do).

  • John Bromley

    A new way of doing business

    John Bromley, Monday, January 24, 2011 - 12:08

    Business guru Professor Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School thinks it's high time for a change. The man who invented the concept of 'corporate social responsibility' now feels that it does not go nearly far enough. He argues that it's essentially ethical window-dressing – what is required is a fundamental shift in how companies operate.

  • How about this for a nudge?

    Aiden Truss, Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 12:08

    A British company, Hu2 Design has produced a range of simple stickers designed to remind people about the ecological cost of their electricity usage:

    Energy stickers.

    They can be applied around light switches and plug sockets to give a little visual reminder to switch off.

    You can see the full range of 'Eco Reminders' here.

  • The NSMC responds to the Health Bill

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 02:00

    The Health and Social Care Bill goes before Parliament later today.

    Commenting on its publication, NSMC Director John Bromley said:

    'The plans put forward represent both a huge opportunity and a grave risk to the NHS and, more importantly, the millions who depend on it every day.

    'There is potential for a new era of community-based, people-centred healthcare. But GPs must be supported and encouraged to see beyond the needs of the people walking through their surgery doors.

  • What really motivates us?

    Aiden Truss, Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 12:08

    After reading Aditya Chakrabortty's article in today's Guardian, I stumbled across this fascinating illustration (literally) of what really motivates people. It's based on a talk given by workplace behaviour expert Daniel Pink for the RSA last year:

  • Tackling binge behaviour

    Toby Hopwood, Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 12:08

    The government is already being accused of 'bottling it' on a minimum price for alcohol. Instead of banning the sale of bargain booze, it is said that shops and bars will be prevented from selling drinks for less than the tax they pay on them.

    Public health campaigners have been quick to condemn what they see as toothless legislation – and undoubtedly wielding the stick of regulation has proven a successful vector of behaviour change in other areas.

  • The NSMC's latest e-bulletin is out!

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 02:00

    The NSMC's latest e-bulletin is has gone out to over 3,600 recipients and is available to view online here.

    Future editions will contain exclusive content for registered users and will only be made available on the website a month after the initial mail-out. So, if you want to be first with news, events and exclusive content, please take two minutes to sign-up.

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