A social norms campaign is based on the idea that misperceptions of what is ‘normal’ can reinforce negative behavior. Conversely, accurate perceptions of what is ‘normal’ increases healthy behavior. Social norms campaigns communicate accurate information about the prevalence of healthy behavior in order to reinforce healthy behaviors in the targeted population. Social norms campaigns typically use multi-faceted intervention strategies, including media, activities, and policy change. Ideally, representatives of the target population are involved in creating the campaign to ensure the message is relevant to the group. Social norms campaigns are a science-based method, proven to change perceptions of norms and behaviors in a community. It is important to note that behavior change takes time. The targeted community must first be aware of the campaign, then the community’s perception of the norm must come closer to reality, and finally, we expect to see behavior change. It may take several years for this whole process to come to fruition.
The HOPE Coalition has been conducting tobacco and alcohol related social norms campaigns at local youth programs and schools. Social norms marketing campaigns work! Check out our report about results from our partner school!
Check out our PSA about target marketing!
Watch a recent interview Coalition Director Laurie Ross and Substance Abuse and Tobacco Prevention Coordinator Karyn Johnson and gave on Soapbox.