Non-governmental organizations have researched and developed new techniques of influencing the behavior of the society. Through the use of social marketing as a strategy of doing this, NGOs have organized campaigns and also come up with slogans which will not be easily forgotten in the near future. The campaigns incorporate online and television adverts in a bid to help society promote merit goods and also to demerit some. The campaigns also help to bring certain issues to the attention of the public such as diseases which can be avoided through the procedure provided in the case of cancer-related diseases. Social marketing is a tool that the society requires and will be used in the years to come because we need the guidance provided by the advertisements for social good. (Anton, 1998)
“Water- use it wisely” is the social campaign that I chose because water is what binds nature together and is the sole purpose that there is life on planet earth. Due to its importance water should be preserved in order for the future generation to enjoy a cold shower without fear of water running out. NGOs recognize that water is an indispensable resource almost of equal value to oxygen with its innumerable uses.
A social marketer in our case identified with the over-reliance people have on water. With the current trends in the world such as drought and desertification the marketer saw that water was slowly running out. Some regions in Africa have reported the worst drought, accompanied with famine, ever recorded. Thousands and some times millions of Africans have died due to lack of water, and water rationing programs in the neighboring regions are a norm. This to the NGOs is seen as a beginning of the end, although the commoner does not realize this. Humans take water for granted as a resource and even value electricity more although the latter is produced by water. Such attitude is what the marketers are trying to mould into a more concerned one. (Mckenzie 2012)
As we have stated, water is a resource to almost all industries. In the case of hydro-electric power, known as electricity to many, it is used to turn the turbines of the generators. Without electricity technology and life in general would not be this comfortable. In the food processing industries, it is used to produce syrups, solutions and concentrates which are then used to manufacture the rest of the product. The juices and sodas we ingest are made of almost entirely water plus a few ingredients, in this category is soups and other beverages. International corporations like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, breweries should invest heavily in these sorts of campaigns in a bid to safeguard their raw materials. Water as a social amenity helps us mainly to be clean. It is used in dry-cleaning, dish washing, and basically in all types of cleaning. This is because it is known in chemistry as the “universal solvent” because of its ability to dissolve majority of the dirt solutes. If the water in our taps runs dry we will incur unbearable consequences.
Water is an important part of the eco-system in the form of mist, fog, rain, hailstone among other forms. These form in our ancestor days were seen as a sign of blessings from their creator. Water occurs in the atmosphere through a cycle which begins from the plants and is spreads from then on. This cycle is threatened by the cutting of trees and other vegetation leading to desertification rampant in the Sub-Sahara. Drought in areas where trees have been cut is not an unusual occurrence because of lack of rain. The absence of water in such areas causes low or no cloud cover which causes all form of life to wilt and some even die from thirst. (Mckenzie 2012)
Lack of water in humans brings about dehydration. It is known that man can live for a month without food but cannot exceed a week without water. The human anatomy is composed of eighty percent water in the form of bodily fluids and this is same for the animal kingdom. It is also a causative agent in some diseases like cholera, bilharzias among other diseases. Stagnant water causes such diseases because it is heavily infested with harmful organisms. Therefore clean water is a necessity for the wellbeing of the human race
The first water campaigns were based on the cleanliness of water due to the number of harmful diseases caused by dirty water. They were psyched by the passing of the Clean Water Act. These campaigns aimed at eliminating all stagnant pools of water, which were breeding grounds for organisms. These campaigns were a huge success in tropical areas and were responsible for reducing the number of malaria and other diseases. ( Cheng,& Kotler 2011) Chlorination of the water was advocated in the dispensing of public and domestic water. These social campaigns were so successful that the modern water conservancy promotion builds and improves on the established models.
The "Water - Use It Wisely" campaign is mainly focused on the idea of water conservancy as a wise strategy. So who will the marketers target? Who will be used to spread the notion at a community level? Most of today’s campaigns target the women who play the role of mothers in the society. When they are sensitized about water and how it can be used wisely at homes they are likely to do so. The mother will likely mould her children in doing what she does, if they grew up conserving water they will continue doing so in their future homes. Also the education systems in most countries incorporate the study of water conservation practices this is in the effort of promoting a conservation culture. Teachers are given the necessary materials for this such as in-service training for introducing this to the children. Water providers are also targeted; they are taught how to develop efficient devices such as taps and showers. The designing pipes in order to ensure the efficient running of water in homes.
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Farmers are also targeted since they use water in their everyday in their farms. They practice irrigation and as it is a wasteful method they are encouraged to use more efficient ways such as underground drip technology. This technology ensures that less water is wasted, this compared to its counterpart overhead techniques such as flood irrigation. The farmers are also encouraged to collect rainwater, together with households. Rainwater is free and fresh and can be used in their farms and homes anytime with little or no treatment. They are also encouraged to grow trees in order to help rejuvenate the dying hydro-cycle in the atmosphere.
In all the activities used to conserve water, one stands out among the rest and is the most practical. The act of closing your taps after use is the most efficient way of conserving water at a household level. The typical household looses water in thousands of gallons because of not closing taps well. The amount of water dripping from a tap in a day is enough to run the household for one night. Such statistics should be avoided by simply closing the tap. Come to think of it, the tap is found in all the water outlets from the shower, bathtub, and sprinkler among others. Most water campaigns place this concern at the centre of their strategy because it solves a lot of the problems. (Cheng & Kotler 2011)
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Conspiracies and propaganda among the masses are among the barriers of social behavior. If the masses believe the inaccurate information for example that bottled water contains chemicals or too much chlorine. If the masses believe such propaganda water conservancy will be forgotten and people will be paranoid and that is not what the campaigners want. Also there is the notion that water which is packed in bottles is for the rich, this social class only comprises only a small percentage of the population. With this, bottled water becomes unpopular with the majority and in the long run water is not popular and thus not conserved. In order to counter this two major barriers, the campaign should provide accurate information and the distribution should be transparent to all parties. The more truth is spread to the masses, the more people believe in the campaign and are willing to hop the conservancy bandwagon. (Underhill, 1990)
Competing behaviors to the campaign include major companies who use water as a raw material in their production processes. If the companies decline to invest in the campaign it will be bound to fail, beverage companies for example earn billions of dollars annually from the creative utilization of water. If a portion of the profits were re-invested in the campaigns they would safeguard their long term interests. Also the habit of indulging in sodas and beers as a form of refreshment undermines the efforts of the water campaigners. Such drinks have little or no value to the human body, the drinks are advertised in very appealing commercials. These commercials are the sole reason the beverages are bought, their demerits cannot be displayed to the population. If a sample of society is picked at random and told to pick a refreshing drink few or none would pick water despite its advantages. The efforts of the water campaigns still cannot go unnoticed because their influence has grown in leaps and bounds over the years. (Anton, 1998)
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The most used model in such promotions is the social cognitive or social learning model. This model shows that most of the human behavior is learned over time, people learn new behaviors from by replicating others. If most mothers and farmers learnt water conservation tips and used them in their setting; according to this theory other mothers and farmers will learn the tips by watching. In popular adverts where mothers are seen applying the tips repeatedly, the viewers are conditioned to this tips are will eventually apply them. They hear about the benefits of the conservation tips and they admire the benefits such as a healthy future. Mothers and in general parents worldwide do not wish a dry future for their kids and will adopt the tips knowing this. Most of the adverts display a dry and scorched earth in the near future, which is a possible outcome, the parents and adults since they do not wish to subject.
Among the tips given by the campaign in question is “There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.” This slogan also summarizes the whole theme of conservation; each individual should assume the responsibility of their water resources. The model above works perfectly for the slogan, a kind of ripple effect in society. Eventually each stakeholder takes care of their water resources and the campaign achieves its goal. (Underhill, 1990)
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The health belief model on the other hand is concerned with the impact of knowledge and perception on a person’s responsibility. The health benefits of water are numerous and they follow most pro-water commercials. .(Mckenzie 2012) Dehydration, which results from lack of water, has harmful effects to the body such as migraine, constipation, dry skin among other effects. The scientifically proven eight glasses of water has reached the grassroots of society and people who never dreamt of drinking water now do it. This health promoting effects of water make people want to conserve water in order to benefit. The idea that one is likely to get sick by drinking water motivates the public in global conservation efforts. The medical bills and insurance packages are greatly reduced and with this economy it is a good thing. (Rowlings, 2005)
The human race, despite being misinformed, will eventually realize the true value of water. Water is priceless as a commodity and cannot be replaced with any other liquid; it has the right to be protected by each and every individual. Every human has a daily investment in water and one should do everything to safeguard their investment. As the slogans become more witty and catching the masses will become more enlightened and conserve water innately. As the c campaign slogan says “Water - Use It Wisely” and “Water is life”