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Tuesday, 10 March 2015 19:03

Work Smarter Not Harder: Resources to Improve Your Communications Strategy

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Working in animal protection, we all have important issues we are focused on and which we want to raise awareness about. Without raising awareness, many of our issues would see little improvement. However, the fact of the matter is that simply shouting the loudest about our cause won’t necessarily lead to the desired changes. We must work smarter, not harder.

Behaviour-change-program-1030x729A few weeks ago, we posted about the power of effective social marketing for behavior change and what it means for animal advocacy. Understanding how to effectively communicate with a targeted audience about your issue—what makes them shut down vs. what makes them listen up and act—can greatly improve the success of your campaigns for animals.

The field of social marketing is vast and the animal protection cause is still quite underrepresented. Much of the field is focused on public health and, to some degree, environmental problems, but that doesn’t mean that the animal protection field can’t use the same resources and communications models to its benefit!

Below is a list of resources, from professional associations to blogs that will help you get started and apply the concepts of social marketing to your own campaigns.



  • The World Social Marketing Conference is taking place in Sydney, Australia April 19-21. This conference is meant to act as “a vehicle to help build a global movement dedicated to capturing, spreading, and nurturing good practice in Social Marketing” and describes social marketing as “a set of evidence and experience-based concepts, techniques, and principles that provide a systematic approach to understanding behavior and developing social interventions that work. It is a fusion of science, experience, and practical ‘know-how’.”

    If you’re in the area and would like to get your feet wet in social marketing and meet social marketing professionals who may be able to help you develop your own ideas for your future social marketing campaigns, this conference would be a great place to start, and has reduced rates for those in the nonprofit sector.

Professional Associations

Journals and Conference Proceedings

  • The Social Marketing Quarterly is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal targeting social marketing and communications professionals which publishes research studies, case studies, conference notes, book reviews, and more. What’s even better is that the December 2014 issue is open access through March 15! You can access this issue here.
  • All papers from the 2014 International Social Marketing Conference are available from the Australian Social Marketing Association here.

Online Knowledgebases

Animal Protection-Specific Resources

  • Animal Impact by Caryn Ginsberg is the go-to guide for applying social marketing solutions to animal protection problems. Step-by-step and filled with examples and exercises, Animal Impact can help you get your social marketing gears turning.
  • Faunalytics provides a portal for research with an eye towards making animal protection more effective by improving advocates’ understanding of attitudes, opinions, and behaviors, empowering them to “effectively target and persuade people to adopt more animal-friendly behaviors.” They provide research primers for different issues and for those in the U.S., Faunalytic's Animal Tracker, an annual survey of U.S. adult opinions and attitudes towards animal protection, might be an especially useful resource.
  • The Humane Society of the United States Animal Sheltering website has information on social marketing specifically for those working in a shelter environment.
  • The ASPCA has a library of webinars and in-person events related to marketing and communications for animals.

We hope that these resources help you start thinking about how your communications plan could benefit from the integration of a social marketing approach. Are there resources we’ve left out? Let us know by commenting below!

Image credit: Borrowed from Marketing for Change.

Jessica Bridgers

Jessica is the Executive Director at World Animal Net. Having received a B.S. in biology with minors in chemistry and anthropology from the University of New Mexico, she combines a scientific background with a passion for animal protection. She completed her M.S. in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University and internships with Humane Society International, Animal Protection of New Mexico, and the New England Anti-Vivisection Society before arriving at World Animal Net. In her free time, she volunteers with horse and wildlife rescues. 


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