RedBull was on the snack table, an indication of the dynamite schedule and high energy level that epitomized this event.
The Agents of Change (AOC) Summit had its premier gathering February 8–9 in San Diego, California. It brought together thought leaders in social marketing like Jeff French, CEO at Strategic Social Marketing in the United Kingdom, and Sharyn Rundle-Thiele, professor at Griffith University and contributing author to Journal of Social Marketing, with some of the leading creative thinkers in the digital world like Roy Daiany from Google, Travis Bogard from Jawbone, and Danielle Strle from Tumblr, to name just a few.
IQ Solutions was happy to be part of the AOC mix with Pat Enright Kaplan, senior vice president, Molly Alawode, digital public health research analyst, and Julie Hentz, director of social issue marketing, attending.
This strategic blend of the public health and tech worlds juxtaposed behavior change strategy with digital tools to shape a creative approach to improving health outcomes.
At the event opening, attendees heard about key differences between corporate marketing and social marketing from Rescue’s president, Jeff Jordan. He also presented a simple outline with clearly marked pathways outlining the steps within the discipline of social marketing from research and baseline measurements through outcome and impact evaluation. Speaking of evaluation, a highlight at the event was the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Tom Chapel’s presentation on evaluation and measurement. Let’s face it, we are all accountable for the change we seek, realized in both positive behaviors and in the money invested in the program.
Jeff French followed up with social marketing strategies, tactics, and successes, drawing from his vast experience directing social marketing projects for the British government, and infusing his presentation with his wonderful sense of humor, which made digesting useful information most enjoyable.
In between keynotes, attendees spent 30 minutes with their selected “villages.” Sexual Health, Preventing and Treating Drugs/Alcohol Addiction, Preventing and Reducing Obesity, and Preventing and Reducing Tobacco Use were the designated health topics. The focus of these interim sessions was to hear short presentations on topics related to the defined health topic and work through practice challenges often faced with that theme with team members. The strength of the village concept was in the opportunity to exchange ideas with others working in the same health area and to make new, valuable contacts.
The Summit structure allotted the largest portion of time to the keynotes. One of many keynote highlights was Kathy Crosby, director, Office of Health Communications and Education at the Center for Tobacco Products, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who discussed the exciting successes being realized by the FDA in its youth smoking prevention work, the result in part of sound segmentation. Everyone loved the “Left Swipe It” video!
The second day provided a platform for considering digital tools and how they can contribute to improved behavior outcomes. Danielle Strle of Tumblr reminded attendees to examine what’s trending when drafting their behavior change strategies. Travis Bogard introduced attendees to the opportunities that wearables and physical activity apps provide as tools and an impetus to engage in physical activity. Google, Facebook, and Quantified Self all had representatives offering insights into ways their tools can be integrated into a successful behavior change design.
High energy was reflected in many ways at this event. It was reflected in the delivery of the many memorable presentations, which included short videos like Tony Foleno’s Ad Council spots. It was reflected in the shorter sessions and quick moves to the next agenda item. And the energy didn’t stop there—a live band and dancing after dinner rounded out the day.
So, fellow social marketers and change agents, who wouldn’t want to be on the San Diego Bay in February, walking in 81-degree sunshine and warm breezes, making new friends from an accessible attendee list of approximately 325, and leaving with a replenished toolbox for improved strategies and more successful outcomes?