Georgetown University is creating a new Social Marketing Institute, the Washington Business Journal reported July 24.
The institute, which is about a year into an 18-month planning phase, was founded by Alan Andreasen, a marketing professor at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, and Bill Novelli, associate executive director at the Association for the Advancement of Retired People. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has provided temporary funding with a $655,000 planning grant.
One of the first tasks of the new institute is to help the public understand what social marketing is. It’s not communications, advertising or public relations, though all of those things can be involved.
“We’re really about behavior change,” Andreason told the Journal, “not necessarily about creating awareness or changing attitudes. A lot of the things we’re confused with tend to emphasize education and awareness and information dissemination. We don’t stop there, we say, it’s nice to get an education, but if people don’t exercise more, or eat more fruits and vegetables, or fill out their Census forms, you haven’t been very effective in your program.”
The center will try to bring in corporate marketing people as volunteers. Andreasen and Novelli say that allowing marketers to volunteer, say, 40 hours a year would not only be a recruiting bonus but would also enhance a company’s reputation.
When the institute opens its doors next year, it will provide on-site guidance to government agencies, businesses and nonprofits. It will also research social marketing practices and offer training and networking opportunities.
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