Journal of Social Marketing, Volume 6, Issue 3, July 2016.
Purpose Addressing calls for broadening social marketing thinking beyond ‘individualistic’ parameters, this paper describes a behavioural ecological systems
(BEM) approach to enhance understanding of social markets. Design/methodology/approach A conceptual framework – the Behavioural
Ecological Model (BEM) – is presented and discussed within a context of alcohol
social change. Findings The BEM emphasises the relational nature of behaviour change where individuals are embedded in an ecological system that involves performances of behaviour, and social change, within a historical, social, cultural, physical and environmental setting. Layers of influence on actors are characterised as macro (distant, large in scale), exo (external, remote from individuals), meso (between the individual and environments) and micro (the individual within their social setting).The BEM can be applied to guide social marketers towards creating solutions that focus on collaboration amongst market actors, and with rather than for consumers. Practical implications The BEM contributes to a broader holistic view of social ecologies and behaviour change; emphasises the need for social marketers to embrace systems thinking; and recognises that relationships between actors at multiple layers
in social change markets are interactive, collaborative and embedded in dynamic
social contexts. Importantly, a behavioural ecological systems approach enables social
marketers to develop coherent, integrated and multi-dimensional social change
programs. Originality/value The underlying premise of the BEM brings forward relational logic as the foundation for future social marketing theory and practice. Taking this approach to social market change focuses strategy on the intangible aspects of social offerings, inclusive of the interactions and processes of value creation (and/or
destruction) within a social marketing system to facilitate collaboration and
interactions across a network of actors so as to overcome barriers and identify
solutions to social problems.


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