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Watch Sharyn Rundle-Thiele’s video. Do you want to learn more about how to deliver social change?

We can’t deny that some of our behaviours need to change. Applying marketing tools and techniques is one way that we can help to deliver social change.

While there will always be a need for short term, people focussed, behavioural change interventions, these cannot crowd out the shared responsibility that all stakeholders, within a system, must have to deliver social good.

Strategies directed only at people at the heart of the problem are only dealing with the visible symptoms. If we respond with fixing only the easiest and cheapest barrier points we have failed to address multiple levels of influences.


A consequence of directing our behaviour change efforts only at people at the heart of the problem, is that we are singling them out, centering attention only on them. This can result in many people feeling they are being judged, which can make them feel bad.

We need to understand that people’s thoughts and actions are the sum of many social and environmental influences exerted each and every day. Social Marketing has to work to disrupt the influences that support detrimental behaviours.

Another challenge that needs to be overcome is that governments and organisations whose job it is to tackle wicked problems have a tendency to consult with the usual suspects – people and organisations who make themselves known and/or are closest to them.

This crowds out other viewpoints and limits understanding, delivering a narrow viewpoint. Co-creation, stakeholder inclusion, and application of systems methodologies are needed to deliberately seek out alternate voices to activate change.


To overcome difficult and long-lasting problems, new ways of acting must be found. New and fresh approaches require the implementation of new ideas, some of which challenge long-standing work practices. That is how we achieve results previously thought impossible.

Tactics used to direct individual people to change behaviour are less effective than tactics, or strategic initiatives, co-created with community stakeholders.

We take a more in-depth look, in Week 2, at some of the many tools marketers use to generate new ideas.

Your task

Can you think of other challenges to creating lasting behaviour change? Use the comments link below to let us know what you think.

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Social Change: How Can Marketing Help?

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