Archive for June, 2010

Beyond the Usual Suspects – Real Influence Matters!

June 29, 2010

Under commission from the London Empowerment Partnership, TCC has been conducting research on factors affecting residents’ perceptions of influence on local decision-making in London boroughs.

The research is now complete and today at the Conference “Beyond the Usual Suspects – Real Influence Matters” we are reporting back to representatives from across London on its conclusions as well as discussing how to improve residents’ experience of influencing local decision-making.

Speakers at the conference include:

  • Sam McLean, Director of Public Participation, RSA speaking on the role of citizens and citizenship
  • Andy Byrom and Anna Pierce, Associate Directors, Ipsos MORI presenting their national research on influence
  • Pat Dade, Director, Cultural Dynamics exploring the importance of recognising different personal values in communication and engagement
  • Phillip Blond, Director, ResPublica discussing the Big Society

What do different people mean by ‘influence’? What might affect their perceptions of whether or not they have it, and their motivations for seeking it?

A key conclusion of TCC’s research was that most residents judge their perceived level of influence in their area on their personal experience of the quality of customer service that they receive from local institutions.

Yet those same institutions formally separate the customer service and ‘engagement’ functions. Moreover, many of the small number of self-selected residents who choose to engage formally are often left disappointed at the lack of feedback or outcomes. The result is that they often do not feel that they have had influence as a result of their engagement.

Local authorities need to recognise that their residents have different values that inform their feelings and its means that they should approach this issue in different ways.

The report explores public perceptions and makes 26 recommendation as to how local authorities can improve how they engage with their local communities. Some of the key points are summarised below:

  • All customer encounters should be classed as engagement
  • Understand motivations, values and expectations through segmentation
  • Break down cultural differences between customer services and engagement
  • Enhance front-line engagement through better feedback mechanisms and training
  • Integrating communications through pooled insight across providers and effective feedback to customers
  • Choose the right channel for the right audience: word of mouth  might be more appropriate than the internet
  • Look at the option of informal consultations and ongoing discussions which may in certain cases be more effective than formal consultation
  • Use open and discursive engagement to take influence beyond the town hall to assist with building social capital and social norms

The conference is likely to be a useful opportunity for bringing many practitioners in this field together to innovate further on this important subject.

Charlie Mansell is Research and Development Officer for the Campaign Company


Jeff French writes: on the do’s and dont’s of a Social Marketing Plan

June 24, 2010

In my last post I looked at the 10 key rules for implementing a social marketing programme. In this posting I want to look at the key elements of a Social Marketing Plan and what to avoid.

10 things to include in your Social Marketing plan:

  1. Explicitly define the problem. Set out the challenge (Challenge / Problem Statement) and context (e.g. SWOT STEP Gap and Competition analysis.
  2. Mobilise all your assets Set out the human and financial resources and assets required / available, including contributions from stakeholders and partners.
  3. Target and segment the audience. Select and set out the primary and secondary audience describing how you have segmented them.
  4. Undertake behavioural Analysis Identify key influences, benefits, rewards, blocks and barriers to the desired behavior
  5. Set out clear behavioural goals Set out aims and behavioural objectives for the work, and SMART objectives for the programme.
  6. Define and describe the proposition Set out what you are offering (the core benefits) and how this will be delivered.
  7. Develop and test. Set out how you will pre test or pilot your proposals and how they will be monitored and evaluated. Also, address any ethical issues, how to coordinate stakeholder and partner’s contributions to the programme.
  8. Implement. Set out the final aims and objectives for the programme. Describe the elements of the action you will take and the period for this action.  Spell out who will do what and when. Set out how you will monitor and review progress; manage you stakeholders and partners and finally what action you will take to capitalise on opportunities that arise or manage risks or threats that arise
  9. Evaluate. Undertake process, (measuring the efficiency of the programme) , impact evaluation ( short-term effects of the intervention) and outcome evaluation ( the change in behavior that you wish to measure)
  10. Learn and improve. Set out a plan for how you will share your findings with others within your organization, area and more widely.

Things not to do

  1. Let people think that Social Marketing is just about flashy promotional events, materials development, mass or new media promotions.
  2. Develop material that is driven by what ‘experts ‘think people need.
  3. Undertake actions that are not informed by market research or client insight.
  4. Run programmes or projects that you don’t evaluate.

Final tip:

Remember the first duty of a Social Marketer is to market Social Marketing to non marketers. We need to ensure that a marketing mind set is embedded within all our organisations so that they can become more effective and efficient.

Professor Jeff French is a non-executive Director of The Campaign Company, a professor at Brunel University and a Fellow at Kings College University of London. He founded and established the National Social Marketing Centre in England and currently is chief executive of Strategic Social Marketing Ltd. He will be a keynote speaker at the 2nd World Social Marketing Conference in 2011 in Dublin

Will the Budget make Total Place initiatives more difficult?

June 23, 2010

The Financial Times has just published its latest survey of the latest local government cuts. This follows a similar survey by the BBC.

As well as the level of cuts reported, what does this tell us about some of the current trends?

So far these reductions are seen almost purely in local government terms with local Councils collaborating with others to share back office services rather than attempt service reconfiguration collaboration with other local Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) Partners.

Those with experience of the past might wonder whether newly ringfenced Health Services are likely to see themselves as losing out if they collaborate too much with the local authority as they may fear the Council will simply try to off-load some social care service delivery on to them as they may have more immediate resources to hand. An example might be the grant funding of some voluntary organisations? The proposed abolition of Strategic Health Authorities and the changing role of Primary Care Trusts’ (PCT’s) may also lead to mergers that remove their coterminosity with local government that may reduce collaboration and again may lead to organisations seeking savings within the health sector rather than cross-sector service change?

Police forces may also look to increased shared services at Local or Borough Command Unit level, so again they may not have much incentive to collaborate.

Thus the incentives to develop wider cross-sector Total Place initiatives may well be badly skewed across various sectors as we see various local partners operate at different speeds when it comes to seeking efficiencies. Service transformation at this cross-sector level may be held back unless local leaderships in those sectors seize the initiative and engage with each other and their local communities early in the efficiency process.

Though Total Place has recently been referred to in positive terms by ministers, more interestingly it is LSP’s that have not had any mention by the coalition.  possibly because the abolition of the CAA may make them less urgently required at present. Whilst it is likely they will survive at local level to coordinate some activity, will the Government in future say how they operate is down to local partners as part of an approach along the lines of: “we should trust the professionals at a local level” that CLG ministers have recently argued for. Is the new localism also going to create a disparate “new magistracy” that was debated a length in the 1990’s? If so, can local engagement make this more accountable than it was in the past?

Charlie Mansell is Research and Development Officer for the Campaign Company

Jeff French writes: on the 10 Key Rules for Social Marketing

June 16, 2010

I will be writing more on the various types of behaviour change in the coming months, but in the meantime I thought it would be good to look at one of the more practical and well-known approaches to behaviour change: Social Marketing

Why use a social marketing approach?

Social Marketing is a systematic process driven by a deep understanding of people and using this understanding to develop and implement effective programmes of social action. The Social Marketing has a bottom line focused on behaviour change. Social Marketing is not just social advertising or promotions but the total process or understanding people and why they act as they do and what can help them. Social Marketing can be defined as: “The systematic application of marketing alongside other concepts and techniques to achieve behavioural goals for a social good” (French & Blair Stevens, 2010)

10 Key rules for developing and implementing a social marketing programme

  1. Active engagement of individuals and communities: Engaging communities in the development delivery and evaluation of solutions.
  2. Focus on behaviour: Set explicit objectives and tailored interventions to achieving measurable behavioural goals.
  3. Segment and succeed: Use behavioural and psychological data as well as demographic and service data to segment target audiences
  4. Use combined approaches: Use an array of interventions including information, service change, policy , education, enforcement and design to bring about change
  5. Sustained and appropriately funded. Deliver programs that can be sustained over time at a cost effective level to bring about measurable  improvement
  6. Integrating action: Develop strong coordination between international, national and local efforts.
  7. Harnessing all possible assets: Develop interventions and co-delivery  through a coordinated coalitions and effort on the part of the public, for profit, and NGO sectors
  8. Theory and science informed interventions: Have a clear and consistent model of practice that is informed by research based theory and best practice.
  9. Learning culture: Develop a learning culture that invests in capturing what is learnt from interventions both positive and negative.
  10. Coordination: Ensuring synergy between intervention strategies and broader policy aims and policy drivers.

In a future posting I will look at what to include and what not to include in a Social Marketing Plan

Professor Jeff French is a non-executive Director of The Campaign Company, a professor at Brunel University and a Fellow at Kings College University of London. He founded and established the National Social Marketing Centre in England and currently is chief executive of Strategic Social Marketing Ltd. He will be a keynote speaker at the 2nd World Social Marketing Conference in 2011 in Dublin

Public sector challenges are Europe-wide

June 11, 2010

TCC Company Chair Jonathan Upton has been abroad recently talking to those working in public administration in both Croatia and Romania about some of the common challenges that organisations face. These common challenges include:

  • Public service reform and reputation in an era of deficit reduction
  • Community cohesion in era of large-scale internal and external migration in Europe
  • Engaging young people in an era when there are high levels of cynicism
  • Public health in an era when some improved health outcomes are leading to wider health inequalities

In Croatia Jonathan met with senior representatives of the Zagreb and Rijeka city administrations to talk about initiatives such as the successful Young Mayor Scheme

In Romania Jonathan attended the 9th International Congress of the International Association on Public and Non-Profit Marketing to present interim reports on social marketing in the public health and community cohesion sectors.

Here, as well as in Croatia, there was a strong recognition that it is important to share learning and best-practice across frontiers. TCC is exploring how the following approaches to engagement could have wider application across Europe:

  • Values based segmentation
  • Understanding world views
  • Designing appropriate communications and messages
  • Peer to peer communications and interventions

International collaboration in all these fields is just as important as it has been to tackle financial issues at a Europe-wide level.

Charlie Mansell is Research and Development Officer for the Campaign Company