Community-based social marketing: A simple summary

It occurred to me earlier today (thank you to one of my readers who pointed it out), that the post I have been referring back to, here, describes what I find most compelling about the community-based social marketing (CBSM) framework, but does not actually explain the framework itself.  

This post offers a very basic and succinct summary of the CBSM framework.

CBSM is a research proven approach to achieve sustainable outcomes in your community.   Continue reading

BECC Day One: Game on! A lesson in gamification

Hello from Washington, DC!  I am at the end of my first evening at the Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference.  I think I’ve died and gone to heaven–there are so many incredible people here, with so much experience, and who truly understand the task of changing culture and behavior to meet important environmental and community outcomes.

In the opening evening of the conference, early-arrivals gathered for a social desserts-only networking event.  I’ve already run into several individuals I only hoped to meet and have time to chat with here, and had a wonderful discussion with Cool Choices (see previous post) and a programmer from University of Hawaii about “gamification” for energy savings.

For our networking activities, we played different games, including “two truths and a lie” and even Charades.  As Kathy Kundt from Cool Choices pointed out in her opening talk, games are fun.  “Fun” isn’t necessarily how we’ve branded energy efficiency.  But games can bring that element to the work we value. Continue reading

Change hurts: Influencing behavior is a messy business | Grist

Article: Change hurts: Influencing behavior is a messy business | Grist.

This is a great article from Grist summarizes an initiative called Tidy Streets, a feedback exercise that communicated to an entire street (and the world) their energy use over a period of time.  While there was initial change (the novelty effect?) the end findings are less than sustained behavior change:

‎”If you give people feedback on energy use, it does have the effect of reducing energy usage in the short-term,” Bird says. “What is trickier is, how do you get sustained sustainable behavior? Anybody who tells you they know how to do that, maybe hasn’t done it.”

It’s trickier than we think. What makes YOU change your habits or pick up a new practice?

There’s no silver bullet, but maybe silver buckshot. Our changed actions are a product of our perceptions, our peers, our resource (time and money and abilities), and our environment. Bird has found a great way to bring awareness, as he credits himself, but I agree with him that awareness is different than sustained behavior change. Awareness is part of it, but how do you build a culture?

I also appreciate the article’s coverage of the boomarang effect, though a misnomer, it’s really a messaging issue.

Four “unwieldy truths” about getting to sustainable behavior


Wes Schultz is a professor at California State University – San Marcos, and is one of the leading American researcher around community-based social marketing, in an article he has prepared for Conservation Biology (to be published in 2012), that he shared with me, he hits home what I consider are the most powerful and useful takeaways from this field so far.

Wes Schultz clearly defines the problem of our deteriorating environmental conditions to be human-caused, and therefore the solution must also come from humans, namely through changing behavior.  This is characteristic of what other social fields call “wicked problems” or “adaptive problems”.  If we were rational, long-term thinking creatures, we wouldn’t have this problem.  But the challenge is that we are human, and we are much more than economic or rational beings. Continue reading