A strong and targeted marketing campaign can have tremendous influence for social good. One terrific example is the work that the Harvard School of Public Health did to launch the Designated Driver campaign in 1988. Our concept is to take the strategies used by these successful campaigns to create a movement toward better recycling, re-purposing, and responsible disposal of our electronics.
Ownership: National meets Local
The government (the EPA or other federal agency) would have ownership over the project and the brand, but would fund and empower local organizations (maybe a youth-run project as discussed in the youth unemployment challenge) to develop locally- and regionally-specific programs. Essentially, there would be one "owner" of the campaign, but it would be largely designed (with brand guidelines) and implemented by hundreds of smaller NGOs or community-based programs.
We will use proven strategies from past campaigns to increase awareness about our e-waste and help people make informed decisions by providing concrete solutions. Depending on available resources, this program could be focused on a social media campaign or extended to a larger television, radio, and popular culture movement.
Here are some strategies to keep in mind when planning a campaign aimed at changing habits.
- Think small. As Chip Health says in his book Switch:How to Change Things When Change is Hard, "Shrink the change." In other words, make the change more manageable and within reach. The more clear, focused, and common sense a message is, the more likely it is to affect change.
- Empower the individual. Make it personal -- we love our gadgets and don't just want to throw them away!
- Stay POSITIVE!
- Avoid blame and guilt - no one is motivated to change if they feel they are being accused of something
- Each campaign would be a multi-pronged approach with both social media elements, traditional marketing (television, radio spots), and links to action in the community.
Here are a few quick ideas:
E-Organ Donor: This is a good one to get people's attention. Here's an example of what this could look like: A woman sitting at a computer says, "Oh no, my computer is dying!" The computer dies (shutting down like an old television, with a circular flash of white). After a moment, the computer spits out an ID card, complete with fun photo, name, and, most importantly, an E-Organ Donor sticker! Voice/Text says, "Your computer is an e-organ donor. Take it to the e-waste recycling center and use his parts to help other sick computers." This campaign would be effective because it touches on the human-like relationship we have with our gadgets (see the Name Your Gadget campaign below) and gives a new framework for thinking of how we dispose of e-waste. #eOrganDonor
Name Your Gadget: We interact quite intimately with our gadgets, so this campaign would focus on the sentimental attachment we have for our devices. We will have a strong social media campaign to promote 'naming' our computers, phones, and other electronics. This would ring true for many young people, as they associate their devices with their connectivity to their friends and the way they experience the world. We could play around with the "personality" or quirks of each device. This would likely be popular among young people, and there could be a school-based arm of implementation. #MeetMyComputer
Remember, each marketing campaign should end with a solution.
- Your computer is an organ donor! Now take it to the e-waste recycling center so its parts can be used to help others in need!
- We love our computers -- they have pictures and messages from our friends on them! Don't just throw them in the trash! Bring it to the "E-Waste Not" booth on Saturdays to see how you can give your old buddy a new lease on life.
- We support extensive partnership. The campaign should partner with companies and organizations to develop products and programs that support the campaign message. For example, a company like Crumpler could design and promote a line of 'named' backpacks, laptop bags or accessories. The opportunities to partner with NGOs and community-based programs is endless!
While my team and I have thrown out a few suggestions, we believe this strategy is strongest if combined with another concept. The content of the marketing campaign would depend on its sister concept. For example, it would be fantastic to combine this concept with T. Annie Nguyen's Take It Back program or Carol Shu's inventive Farmer's Market "E-Waste Not" Booth concept. The marketing strategy would reinforce and promote either program. Taking another tack, the E-Cycle Truck could double as mobile billboards!
Since the implementation of the campaign is a local affair, the message could be tailored to fit the programs already in existence or the informational needs of the community. This requires excellent communication channels between the federal agency and the local NGO implementing the campaign.