Allying for the Public Good

Partnerships between private and government sectors are a potential growth area for social marketing and a great opportunity for corporations, according to the head of a social marketing firm.Steven Bock, president of Public Good Social Marketing Communications of Toronto, says government...

Partnerships between private and government sectors are a potential growth area for social marketing and a great opportunity for corporations, according to the head of a social marketing firm.

Steven Bock, president of Public Good Social Marketing Communications of Toronto, says government cannot always afford the programs needed to change public awareness and attitudes and that role will increasingly fall to corporations.

Bock says these joint ventures would see companies working with government to promote social issues rather than corporate agendas.

He defines social marketing as managing the introduction of social change using proven marketing skills to change attitudes, not sell products.

A social marketing campaign focusses on overcoming concerns and misconceptions around an issue, while being sensitive to communication obstacles such as literacy and ethno-cultural backgrounds.

Recently, in a joint proposal with Vickers & Benson Advertising, Public Good won the assignment to handle the $2-million anti-tobacco strategy for the Ontario Ministry of Health.

Bock approached the agency after seeing the Ontario Advertising Review Board tender ad, which specified social marketing experience. It was a good fit.

Nine-year-old Public Good had the social marketing expertise, and V&B had 68 years of advertising experience, plus resources Bock could only dream of.

V&B will provide the major media components of the campaign, while Public Good will be in charge of collateral print material for schools and public education.

Bock says the two firms work well together and are on the short-list for another Ontario government assignment.

The firm’s latest assignment for the Toronto Transit Commission is for the new Designated Waiting Area (DWA), a safety area on every subway platform, which should be system-wide by the end of the summer.

The DWA is well-lit, monitored by video camera, and also contains a two-way intercom.