Written by Heather Bowen Ray

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 4.53.11 PMThe unofficial theme of the World Social Marketing Conference in Sydney from 19-21 April, 2015, was “Big Social Change.” Speakers noted that while behavior change is a critical component of our work, sweeping social change happens beyond the individual level, through concerted efforts including upstream social marketing and systems-based approaches.

An increased emphasis was placed on “trying and testing” to find what works. Participants called for empirical testing of behavior change theories to add to the social marketing evidence base, as well as increased rigor in measuring all social change initiatives.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 4.55.06 PMDozens of individual sessions shared new research and many lessons from the field. WSMC delegate and speaker Tracey Bridges eloquently summed up six conference insights on the Senate SHJ blog.

WSMC 2015 was well-represented by International Social Marketing Association members, including these ISMA Board Members: Judy Drennan, Jeff French, Jay Kassirer, R. Craig Lefebvre, Doug McKenzie-Mohr, and Gael O’Sullivan. Jeff, Craig, and Doug offered special workshops before or after the conference, and Gael convened a special interest session on Ebola, sponsored by Abt Associates.

For details of each, see the “proceedings book” that features conference paper abstracts. Presentations and keynote videos will be posted soon on the Programme page.

Many thanks to the conference sponsors and to the WSMC 2015 Organising Committee, including Professor Jeff French, Dr. Ross Gordon, Professor Sandra Jones, Professor Rebekah Russell-Bennett, Luke van der Beeke, and Dr. Nadia Zainuddin.

We hope to see you at the next WSMC in Washington, DC, in 2017!