Linking Your Issues to Global Social Systems at WSMC '17

What's your issue? How does it fit within the bigger picture? Whatever cause you are tackling, if you take a systems approach you can likely leverage greater results. That was a primary theme of the "World Social Marketing Conference 2017," where approximately 500 change makers convened in Washington DC to discuss the best contemporary methods to improve global and local social conditions -- our collective issues. 
Takeaways to put into practice starting today
1. Remember, it's about people. We tend to get so caught up in our individual topics or cause issues, sometimes we forget our broader purpose -- to help humans reach their highest potential and live the best quality of life possible. If our vision is to help people live free of social ills (disease, poverty, injustice) then we need to use people-centered approaches to develop human rights and human potential. Let's start by increasing our understanding of others' perspectives rather than simply promoting our perceived solutions.
2. Apply systems thinking: We can elevate our social marketing approaches by applying systems thinking. From the conference opening to the keynote speech by MIT professor John Sterman, we were urged to think of how each action we take affects other aspects of development. Rescue SCG (the primary conference sponsor) totally crushed it by encouraging organizations to create synergies at the strategic level and segment populations at the tactical level. Working alone, our budgets are typically too small and our timelines too short to be effective. Yet working together and taking the long view, we have enough touch points to make a significant difference. 
3. Use targeted behavioral strategies: Emphasize reaching specific peer groups as an antidote to "general population" strategies, which ultimately have very little relevance to people's lives. By creating content that appeals to specific groups of people, who have specific interests, we'll find practical, usable solutions to break through clutter in an age of information overload. Focus on creating actual behavior change, not simply "awareness." 
4. Rethink your digital direction: We've long heard the message to not to get caught up following "shiny objects," but even when we're developing comprehensive campaigns we need to remember all we are asking people to do... click this, go here, download that... it's too much! Look for ways to simplify the user experience. Build on existing platforms rather than reinventing the wheel with each new initiative.
5. Be savvy about engagement: Should you fight against seeming injustices or urge strategic partnerships? Think about what will do the most good for the most people, not just your immediate issue. This is an area where we need to think carefully about which actions (policies, activist stances, marketing approaches) will take humanity farther, fastest. 
6. Watch your language: The words we use matter. Update your vocabulary to reflect the vernacular of today's marketing tools and approaches. Attend webinars and professional development opportunities and conferences of our field, but also other fields such as behavioral economics and commercial marketing. 
7. Do what works: Focus on developing and sharing effective approaches to trigger broad-scale positive change. We have huge successes to share, backed by evidence. For an example, see "Tips from Former Smokers". Do what works to move the needle on behavior change. Then tell your stories. We're a growing field of dedicated professionals who are making a difference. Let's bring it to scale. Whatever we call it, we're all working toward the same end goal -- tapping into human potential for the greater good. 
How does your work contribute to the bigger picture? Reach out via Instagram + Twitter.
 - HBR




Ways to Avoid Stress and Burnout at Work

Occupational burnout poses serious and growing threats to workers across all sectors (even, ironically, among those working in health and medical fields). Burnout can lead to serious mental and physical health challenges for those who ignore the warning signs
The wellness startup venture Thrive Global addresses these issues by leveraging "scientifically proven methods to decrease stress and burnout and improve your overall health, happiness and well-being." 
Murmur's Heather Bowen Ray has interviewed influential and innovative thought leaders from a variety of fields about ways to reduce stress and create healthier habits on the Thrive Global Journal. Check out the following articles to gain a few tips to lead a healthier and happier life, personally and professionally. 
What are you doing to combat stress and feelings of being overwhelmed? Reach out via twitter and instagram.




Lynn Rossy asks: What are you really hungering for? 

The Mindfulness-Based Eating Solution by Lynn Rossy  

Please join author and mindfulness expert Lynn Rossy, Ph.D., for a book talk at the Boulder Book Store on March 28, 7:30 PM. Rossy will speak about her new book, “The Mindfulness-Based Eating Solution: Proven Strategies to End Overeating, Satisfy Your Hunger, and Savor Your Life."
If you struggle with rigid rules around food, how to eat, or how you feel about your body, this talk is for you. In "The Mindfulness-Based Eating Solution," Rossy provides an innovative and proven- effective program to help you slow down, savor each bite, and actually eat less. This unique, whole-body approach will encourage you to adopt healthy eating habits by showing you how to listen to your body’s intuition, uncover the psychological cause of your overeating, and be more mindful during mealtime.  Listen to the wisdom inherent in your body and learn to live with greater joy and ease.

"The Mindfulness-Based Eating Solution" was listed as One of the Top Ten Mindful Books of 2016 by and appeared on Amazon's Top 20 List of Best Sellers in Eating Disorder Self-Help, February 2017.
For more information, please see or contact Heather Bowen Ray at 202-329-1974 or



The Art & Science of Health Promotion


 Examining the mix of influences on health behavior change

Health: The Art and Science of Health Promotion conference


The Art and Science of Health Promotion Conference, which annually convenes practitioners and academics from disparate scientific fields related to health promotion, has begun focusing on a concept called “AMSO” to spark healthier lifestyles. AMSO stands for “Awareness, Motivation, Skills, and Opportunity.”

The AMSO concept was developed by conference program chairperson Dr. Michael O’Donnell, who served as Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Health Promotion from 1986-2016 and coauthored all five editions of the book Health Promotion in The Workplace. O’Donnell has managed many programs and conducted extensive research on the effectiveness of various workplace health programs over the past 30 years to discover what truly works.

O’ Donnell said, “The AMSO Framework is relevant for changing any type of behavior at the individual or organization level.” He said all the best-performing programs incorporate the AMSO elements, even though they might not know the AMSO Framework.

Awareness is understanding the relationship between lifestyle and health outcomes. It used to be the primary focus of programs, but stimulates very little health behavior change, maybe only 5%.
Motivation drives why people want to change; it is rarely to improve health and more often related to their underlying passions or purpose in life. Motivation may account for as much as 30% of successful change.
Success behavior change requires learning new skills and having the right skills can increase success rates by as much as seven-fold. Having the right skills accounts for about 25% of successful change.
Having opportunities to practice healthy life style is probably the most important factor, accounting for up to 40% of successful change. Our behaviors are influenced by our peers; the policies of the organizations we encounter; local, state and federal laws; societal norms, the natural and build environment; and social equality. 


O’Donnell noted that knowing your audience — and not confusing it with yourself — is critical. To illustrate, he said, “I’m a health nut. I want to be healthy because ‘I want to be healthy.’ For most people, health does not drive them. They want to be a good parent, a successful professional, look great, be a strong witness to their faith, or something else. I still have to remind myself of that all the time, and other health professionals should, too.”

The annual Art and Science of Health Promotion conference explores the most effective best practice strategies and the most powerful scientific discoveries. O’Donnell added, “Each year we try to push the envelope with our themes. This year is exploring what is the right mix in awareness, motivation, skills and opportunities to create behavior change.”

. . .

For more information, visit the Art and Science of Health Promotion conference website. Read more about the AMSO theme here.



This article originally appeared on Thrive Global on March 23, 2016. 

Photovoice, Diet, and Behavior

Murmur is thrilled to announce that a publication we helped edit, "Photovoice: Capturing American Indian Youths' Dietary Perceptions and Sharing Behavior-Changing Implications," by Dr. Kathleen Kelly, will be published in an upcoming issue of Social Marketing Quarterly (SMQ).
Photovoice is a process through which community members can identify and enhance conditions in their environment. According to photovoice pioneers Caroline Wang, Dr.PH, and Mary Ann Burris, PhD,
"Photovoice has three main goals: 
(1) to enable people to record and reflect their community's strengths and concerns, 
(2) to promote critical dialogue and knowledge about important issues through large and small group discussion of photographs, and 
(3) to reach policymakers." 

Using the photovoice process, Dr. Kelly's team approached American Indian students in a classroom setting and asked them to photograph their school and home environments related to "healthy", "unhealthy", and "traditional" foods. The results unearthed via a thematic analysis were quite illuminating--for the kids, for the parents, and for school and community-level decision-makers. More will be posted about this as soon as the paper comes out in a future edition of SMQ.