Community-Based Social Marketing
comparative feedback

Psychological experiments have found that people reduce their energy consumption more when given information about how their consumption compares to others.

Poudre High School Energy Star Score 2011

Local high schools are encouraged to reduce their energy consumption through comparative feedback. Each year they are presented with information about their own achievemets compared to other local high schools.


Community-Based Social Marketing is a process for creating successful programs for changing behavior. Each campaign is unique and is developed using the following steps.

Identification of Possible Strategies

We begin each project with an overview of the strategies that are most likely to be successful in meeting your goals. These are based on our knowledge of the latest social science research and logic modeling for your organization.

Audience Assessment & Segmentation

Promoting behavior change involves more than selecting the right message for a particular audience.

At Caros we:

  • determine which segments of the audience are most likely to engage in behavior change,
  • develop targeted messages, and
  • identify the cost effectiveness for various audience segments.

Identifying Behavioral Barriers & Benefits

The key to changing behavior is identifying the perceived barriers and benefits of the desired behavior. To identify barriers and benefits in your organization, the Caros team will conduct focus groups, interviews, and/or surveys.

Behavior Change Strategies

Media campaigns are a powerful strategy for creating behavior change, but the most effective programs often include personal contact as well. Social science tells us that interaction and discussion can be valuable tools for behavior change.

At Caros, we help program planners and marketing teams select the most appropriate strategies for encouraging behavior change including:

  • gaining commitment pledges,
  • communicating community norms, and
  • increasing service offerings (e.g. energy audits).

Culturally Relevant Messaging

Social marketing is most effective when the messages are customized to reflect existing community values and language.

Pilot Campaigns

We follow the time-tested approach of starting small before launching community-wide programs. Pilot campaigns allow for the refinement of campaign strategies and messages until they produce the desired behavior changes. Full scale implementation should occur only after a pilot campaign has documented success. Testing campaigns on a small scale is the best way to:

  • document the cost and benefits of the program,
  • make needed changes with minimal cost, and
  • reduce the risk of large scale failure.

Campaign Evaluation

An integral part of all community-based social marketing is on-going evaluation of campaign effectiveness. We work with program planners to develop an evaluation plan including process and outcome evaluations. Campaign evaluation is used for program refinement, documentation of success, and justification of continued funding.

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