Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Philippines Debuts Behavioral Design® Innovations at the World Social Marketing Conference – bridging Corporate and Social Development

Cali, Colombia - AHA! Behavioral Design® (AHA! BD), the pioneer and practice leader in Applied Behavioral and Decision Sciences (BeSci), especially Behavioral Economics, has made history as the only agency from the Philippines and Southeast Asia to be featured in the prestigious 8th World Social Marketing Conference (WSMC) at the Spiwak Hotel in Cali, Colombia, from November 1-3, 2023. With a diverse assembly of over 30 countries and representatives from every continent, the event provided a melting pot of ideas and practices designed to address critical global challenges.

Under the event theme "Inclusion, Equity, and Equality: Fostering societal transformation through behavioral influence," AHA! BD presented select behaviorally driven projects implemented and executed in the Philippines, highlighting the fusion of social development and marketing strategies. This unique approach not only catalyzes societal change in the Philippines but also offers new pathways for marketing practitioners to enhance consumer engagement and business growth.

AHA! BD's Head of Marketing and Social & Behavior Change Communication, John Leinard A. Ramos, commented, "Participating in the 8th WSMC has reinforced the potential of Social Marketing as a pivotal strategy for advancing civic engagement, public health, financial inclusion, environmental sustainability, and even brand or corporate agendas in the Philippines. It’s a tool not just for societal betterment, but also a strategic asset in business—enhancing customer experiences and brand loyalty. We're proud to demonstrate how BeSci and Behavioral Economics can shape marketing strategies, making them more effective and resonant.”

Co-organized by the International Social Marketing Association (iSMA) and the Latin American Social Marketing Association (LAMSO), the WSMC featured 107 submissions reviewed by an esteemed panel of practitioners and academicians—with all four entries from AHA! BD being chosen and highlighted prominently in the conference.

Among the AHA! BD projects selected as case study presentations for the WSMC were “Leveraging Behavioral Communication Interventions to Nudge Condom Use & Discussions among Filipino Males” (a project with Roots of Health) and “Redefining Influencers: Mobilizing Filipino Mothers to Champion Rights-Claiming Behaviors in the Communities” (in partnership with The Asia Foundation, supported by USAID). WSMC-selected posters were “Social Media-Based Behavioral Design Intervention to Battle Social Isolation among Female Public School Students in the Philippines” and “Nudge to Vote: A Gentle Push for Voter Registration in the Philippines”, with the latter garnering the highest accolades, winning the title of Best Poster among all submissions at the conference.

"Our work at AHA! BD is about creating world-class, impactful programs that influence and empower communities and businesses through healthier, more sustainable behaviors," said Claire Elizabeth S. Lim, Program Operations Head at AHA! BD. “Integrating Social Marketing with Behavioral Design® aligns with global trends, demonstrating potential in both social and corporate arenas. The recognition from the WSMC is both an honor and a testament to our methods—driving profound and lasting positive change across communities, businesses, and countries."

Looking ahead to 2024, Applied Behavioral and Decision Sciences (BeSci), especially Behavioral Economics, and Social Marketing are rapidly emerging as key trends that fundamentally transform the way organizations influence behavior—blending social good with commercial success. iSMA President Jeff French stresses the importance of this shift: "The goal is to capture and spread good practice in the application of Social Marketing to promote more citizen-focused approaches to developing and delivering effective, efficient, and ethical community-wide social, economic, environmental, and health programs and policy."

“The synergy of Social Marketing and Applied Behavioral and Decision Sciences, through Behavioral Design®, is an invitation to government bodies, NGOs, international organizations, foundations, and marketing practitioners alike to develop societal and business solutions that are inclusive, equitable, and sustainable,” said Ramos. “As the world anticipates the possibility of hosting the next WSMC in Southeast Asia, we hope to see more Filipino and Southeast Asian representation—bringing together community-focused and market-driven methodologies to create human-centric designs that meet the complex needs of our time.

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