By David Lee on September 7, 2009 · tagged as , , , ,

Social Marketing to Prevent Sexual Violence

Last week I spoke about using social marketing to advance sexual violence prevention at the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence’s first Rape Prevention & Education Institute. Over 50 prevention educators gathered to this two day institute that also included presentations from Tammy Lemmer of the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual ViolenceRus Funk of Menswork, andDorothy Edwards of the University of Kentucky.

This is one of the many workshops I have given on social marketing over the last few years, including presentations for the US Army’s campaign to prevent sexual violenceMissouri Foundation for Health and many sexual assault and domestic violence coalitions.

I consider social marketing to be a valuable approach to ask the proper questions to develop a comprehensive prevention program. Social Marketing is defined as the use of marketing approaches to create changes in behavior that are for the social good.

Since I was in Tennessee I started with a look how Jack Daniels (brilliantly) markets whiskey.  The challenge for sexual violence prevention advocates is to draw upon the lessons of marketing to effectively “market” sexual violence prevention. CALCASA used sound marketing principles with its MyStrength Campaign to “sell” young men standing up and speaking out against sexual violence as a cool thing to do.

My favorite description of social marketing is that is it not as much “marketing” as it is “social.”  Ads, posts, public service announcements and other communication strategies are only some of the mechanisms to advance thoughtful work to reach a specific audience to adopt a specific desired behavior. What really leads to changes in the social norms and promote new healthier behaviors, is to find ways to mobilize the community to take action.  Marketing teaches us how to effectively frame sexual violence; social action encourages people to adapt positive behaviors.

Handouts from the presentation in Tennessee are available here.

David Lee

More Posts by David Lee

David S. Lee, MPH, is the Director of Prevention Services at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault where he provides training and technical assistance on prevention. David manages the national project PreventConnect, an online community of violence against women prevention practitioners, funders, researchers and activists. For over 27 years David has worked in efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

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Jeanine Cowan September 8, 2009 at 8:07 pm

I agree completely. We have an amazing opportunity to reach millions of people with an educational campaign utilizing social media marketing. I look forward to creating a thoughtful approach that includes understanding the causes and effects of violence as well as offers suggestions for creating peaceful lives. Changing values depends on, as we know, many things. However, none more powerful though than the values help by our peer group. That’s the beauty of “social” marketing. I have seen it in action in my circle of influence.

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