05May, 2017

Transforming Public’s Perception & Behavior Through Social Marketing

public relations, Transforming Public’s Perception & Behavior Through Social Marketing-Public Relations and Communications Business Portal News Indonesia

By: Lusida Sinaga – Senior Account Manager of Fortune PR


The most important part of conducting social marketing for PR professionals is to pay attention on how to communicate the program to its public. Effective communication will be the bridge for the transformation of public’s perception, from being ignorant to emotionally attach, or from being pessimist to being optimist towards an issue.

But before we go deeper, let us first elaborate the basics of social marketing. Different from commercial marketing, according to The Social Marketing Report[1], social marketing tries to transform people’s perception and behavior for the benefit of the consumer or of society as a whole. While commercial marketing tries to change people’s behavior for the benefit of the marketer.

Basically, social marketing focus on the application of commercial marketing techniques to social problems. PR professionals use social marketing, usually through campaign programs for the purpose of non-profits, CSR, and grant funds, to influence perception and behavioral change that benefit individuals and communities for the greater social good.

Using social marketing also benefits the company in three aspects. The first aspect is for the benefit of the company’s reputation, which then also affects the public’s perception, purchasing decision, loyalty, and investment towards the company. The second one is the competitive advantage benefit, which also effects talent attraction towards the company, loyalty and staff involvement, and the company’s efficiency. The last would be the beneficial for risk management prevention.

Social Marketing Mix

Although commercial and social marketing uses the same tools, they have different goals. According to Weinreich Communications[2], commercial marketing sells products or service, while social marketing sells perception and behavioral change. When creating a marketing strategy, social marketers use a few similar marketing mix as commercial marketers.

Product, price, place, and promotion are the basic Four Ps in marketing mix. Since behavior is the actual product of social marketing, show your audience how paying attention to the issue helps bring a huge impact to the society. So, we have to promote the behavioral change based on the target audience’s core values. In pricing strategies, people don’t mind paying to change behavior as much as they dislike the social and emotional costs.

As in place, it is important to also note that your potential participants will not go out of their way to look for your messages. Go to them and help them learn about the product and perform the behavior. Moreover, the distinction lies on the ways to promote the campaign. Therefore, three more Ps are added to social marketing mix because promoting perception and behavioral change is not an easy job. On the other hand, there are additional three Ps in terms of marketing for non-profits.

The first P added to the list is Publics. Map out all the people involved. Target the audience, groups that influence the audience, the policymakers, as well as the media. You have to make sure that the internal employees and member of the organization are well informed about the program.

The second P added to the list is Partnerships, which can be other non-profits organization, government agencies, and business companies. Your partner involved must possess a similar goals and values, credibility and access to target audience, resource that fills your gaps, and interest in sponsoring your program.

The last P added to the list is Policy. Government and organizational policies can create a big impact on promoting perception and changing behavior on a large scale. Moreover, each company or organization possesses their own policy when communicating their program through the audience. As a PR professional, we then need to adapt to those policies.

Social marketing is an excellent approach that PR professionals can do for their companies to help individuals and societies as a whole to live a better life. But in order to make a greater good for both, the program needs to be sustainable. The social marketing program must able to empower the targeted audience, even after the program ended. Aside for social contribution, sustainability affect directly to your company’s or organization’s positive reputation. Which will benefit you for the long run.


[1] Source: http://ctb.ku.edu/en/sustain/social-marketing/overview/main

[2] Source: https://www.thebalance.com/how-nonprofits-sell-behavior-change-2502344

Image Source : http://www.pexels.com

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