How can social marketing raise awareness about climate change?

It is understood that social marketing has the power to affect our behavior and thoughts through different adverting techniques, for instance, which often have a visual impact on people. Most times it is used to promote marketing goods or ideas that enhance the image of a certain company and has the ability to “play with our heads” – in the good and in the bad. However, some consider social marketing to do little to achieve noncommercial goals, but this is a dangerous oversimplification and underestimation of the influence of social marketing.  “In an age of climate change, environmental destruction, natural resource shortages, fast population growth, hunger and poverty, as well as insufficient social services, what contributions might marketing make?” (Serrat, 2010)

To begin with, I want to illustrate how the word “social” in particular is crucial here and why it has to do both with the way of marketing needed and climate change itself. First of all it can be considered a social problem because it affects almost everyone (for instance global warming) whether in varying intensity. There are many people suffering of pollution and environmental damages in many different ways. Furthermore “social sciences hold the key to the solution of the severe environmental problems” because “humans have come to dominate earth systems thanks to the power of social cooperation.”(Laurent)
Finally social problems and environmental problems depend on each other or rather are interdependent.

Contrary to Mancur Olson’s “logic of collective action” the environment can be much better protected by a larger heterogeneous group of people than by some individual persons. (cf. pg 10). Therefore we need a demand in society for environmental protection. Besides we need a strong society for rescuing the people after “natural disasters”.

Now, from an other point of view, a social problem often needs solution strategies of a social nature, therefore that is a good moment for marketing to step in; the atmophere where it operates is mainly collective and affiliates a lot of people, this way the message is more efficiently conveyed. As mentioned, social marketing “is no longer a mere function used to increase business profits” but more like a social process – “composed of human behavior patterns concerned with exchange of resources or values” – as well as “organizing the creation, communication, and delivery of products and services to meet their desires as well as the needs of society, and solve serious social problems”. (Serrat,2010) This being said, communication and marketing interventions show to have considerable potential to promote important population behavior change objectives by providing potential target audiences with programs that contain the attributes of effective climate change messages.

Good examples about raising awareness about climate change and enhancing behavioral change in people through social marketing are for example campaigns with social or environmental objectives, undertaken by government or non-governmental organizations. (WWP)

“Tackling climate change will require a huge shift in mindset and a willingness among the public to make lifestyle changes. Effective communication will be essential. WPP is participating in Shaping the Message on Climate Change, an initiative of the UN and International Advertising Association, to improve communication on climate change and ensure a successful outcome at the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December 2009.”

What are then the components of a good campaign about climate change?  First of all, it is good to be aware that “the effectiveness of social marketing rests on the demonstration of direct impact on behavior; it is this feature that sets social marketing distinctly apart from communication or awareness-raising approaches (where the main focus is on highlighting information and helping people understand it)”. Then, most consumers 6aacd5836ee9cc363cccde82580ca17dare looking to business to take greater action on climate change, and expect greater competition in the next few years around this issue. They prefer easier choices and more help differentiating environmentally sound products from others. Certain sectors, such as investment, transport and oil, face more scrutiny than others because environmental objectives are perceived to be fundamentally at odds with their way of operating. (Downing and Ballantyne)

” Effective communication on climate change which is capable of motivating changes in consumer behaviour (rather than simply raising awareness further) will depend upon: the relevance of climate change to consumers’ lives and the relationship to their consumption behaviours being made clear; targeting strategies which take account of differences amongst key consumer segments; and developing a message which motivates rather than overwhelms consumers whilst avoiding any perceptions of `greenwashing´.” (Peattie and Pontings, 2009)


Laurent, É (September, 2013) “Inequality as pollution, pollution as inequality”,OFCE/Sciences Po-Paris, Standfor University, Harvard University, retrieved from:

Peattie, K, Peattie, S and Ponting, C,(2009) “Climate change: a social and a commercial marketing communications challenge”, EuroMed Journal of Business, Vol. 4, retrieved from:

Downing, P and Ballantyne, J (2007) “Social Marketing & Climate Change: Tipping Point or Turning Point?”, Ipsos Mori-Social Research Institute, retrieved from:

Serrat, O, (January, 2010) “Knowledge Solution”, Asian Development Bank, retrieved from:

WWP Corporate Responsability Report 2008/2009, retrieved from:

Social Media Marketing vs Traditional Marketing



How has marketing changed and where can it be seen? What are the main differences between today´s dominating way of marketing, the digital marketing and classic marketing? Laurelle Boodram states in her blog Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing that “In the past, experts used traditional marketing techniques, such as all of the advertisements you typically think of, including ads in newspapers or magazines, TV commercials, billboards, business cards, and radio (…)”, whereas today, as digital marketing is becoming increasingly popular, they focuse on the Internet instead in the advertising and sale of the product.

First of all, Mangold W. Glynne and Fauld J. David exemplify in their article that: “The emergence of Internet-based social media has made it possible for one person to communicate with hundreds or even thousands of other people about products and the companies that provide them. Thus, the impact of consumer-to-consumer communications has been greatly magnified in the marketplace.” Fauld and Mangold argue that social media works as a hybrid element of the promotion mixture because following a traditional way it enables companies to talk to their customers while adding the digital component permits the customers to talk directly to one another.  “The content, timing, and frequency of the social media-based conversations occurring between consumers are outside managers’ direct control”, they continue and make a comparison to the traditional integrated marketing communications where the activity is highly controlled.

Boodram continues making comparisons and giving examples and as it was already mentioned before: “In traditional marketing, the communication only happens in one direction, with one person (or product) communicating with a large group (the target audience). While this type of communication does occasionally exist in digital marketing, the focus is instead on multi-directional communication, in which the company will actively communicate with the consumers, both talking and listening(…)”. Moreover, the traditional method incorporates fewer interactions with the customers and they much longer; the main channel of communication is through letters, phone calls, e-mails… In digital marketing all interactions are public as they are shown on the Internet.

What has also changed is the way how the ad campaings are scheduled and planned along this transition to digital marketing. Traditional marketing is mostly well-planned out in the long run whereas the latter one enables a lot more room for adjustment although it does also involve long-term planning of this sort. “There is also a large difference in the availability of the company to respond to customers in digital marketing vs traditional marketing”, Boodram states and continues: “With the traditional techniques, responses canonly occur during work hours, but with digital marketing, most companies have people on various shifts. This means that at any given moment, a customer’s request or feedback will get a response within a day or two.”