Piloting a Social Marketing approach to healthy eating at First Step Community project

The final report on the pilot of social marketing at First Step Community Project as a technique to influence health related behaviour change is linked below.

The following is the conclusion of the report

Conclusion: The pilot project has delivered on its four main objectives to: work collaboratively with parents to identify health issues, and approaches to address these; to make links with appropriate agencies and to share the learning gained from using a social marketing approach.

The impact of this pilot on behaviour change is less clear however this may have been due to the timing and methods used to gather this information, rather than a lack of impact. Small shift in behaviours that are not easy to quantify and measures have been observed by First Step staff who work closely with the parents and grandparents Whether this is directly attributable to the social marketing developments or is reflective a combinations of approaches used in and by First Step is difficult to determine.

Advantages of the social marketing approach were that some principles did direct the steering group to consider certain issues in more depth than they may have with other health improvement methodology. Examples of this were considering barriers and competition to healthy behaviours and the notion of an exchange value (giving up one behaviour for another had to have some value in it)

It was felt that a number of the principles, such as, customer orientation, segmenting and using a theory base were common to other approaches. However as these principles were described in new terminology there was some confusion as the group searched for new meaning or different principles behind the terms.

Social marketing is a valuable health improvement tool to be familiar with and can offer other organisations some unique principles to follow. It worked well within an organisation that; already worked alongside their clients in a partnership way; could support small groups with intensive developments and were familiar with similar approaches such as community development.

First Step Social Maketing Report