Notes from the SPARKS Conference 2022: Day 1

The Time is Always Now:

Centering Equity and Community Voice as an Evergreen Communications Tool

by Paj Nandi at DH

  • everyone filters information through their unique lens of lived experience
  • thus CONTEXT is essential to communicate effectively
  • communications serves to share information AND power
  • comms sits at the axis of power and access
  • comms as strategy channels access, counters discrimination
  • equity-centered philosophy:
    • partner directly with community and shift power
    • create positive narratives rooted in community
    • work to undo harmful narrative
    • practice cultural humility
    • be mindful of own biases
  • intent > process > outcome > impact

A Community-Centered Approach to Creating Campaigns with the Black/African American Community

by DeeSha Connor with WA DOH

  • campaign “We Consider” – closing the gap between vaccination rates between general population and the Black community
  • tactics: focus groups
  • micro-influencers (under 1000 followers), ads in-language, community events at churches
  • research from within the community more powerful
  • let community tell their own stories — can’t write their script or shape their words — stories more powerful than facts
  • give up control to the community — for example created a micro website outside DOH that was written by the community

Using Humor to Address Mis-information Among the Hispanic/Latino Community

by Jennifer Gonzalez

  • campaign “Mentira Mariachi” – closing the gap between vaccination rates between general population and the Hispanic/Latino community
  • Partnered with UW Latino Center for Health on data — almost 1/3 said they were “unsure” about getting the vaccine
  • research tactics: stakeholder interviews
  • problems = distrust of government / official sources, misinformation, messages were not culturally relevant
  • motivator = protecting loved ones and community
  • approach: vaccine facts + “cultural DNA” — humor is very important to Latino identity
  • commissioned mariachi jingle from a Tacoma mariachi band — so popular it was extended to a full 60-second version
  • lesson: authenticity isn’t a given, it requires intentionality — translation isn’t enough, culturally appropriate actors / models isn’t enough — test with the community, involve in the creative process

The Hero’s Journey: When the Stakes get Raised, Will Scientists Learn to Speak Plainly and Tell a Story?

by Josh Latterell, King County Science and Technical Support, Water and Land Resources Division – River Ecologist

  • Making partnerships between scientists and social marketers more effective to bring about change
  • Logline Maker by Dori Barton:
    • in an ordinary world — scientists train in academia
    • a flawed character — scientists want to change the world
    • has a catalytic event — but realize no one seems to be listening
    • which upends their world, but after taking stock, the character decides to act — must overcome the fact scientists are trained to communicate with other scientists
    • learn to communicate with more audiences — scientists learn to give better presentations, use plain language
    • but when the stakes get raised — hello climate change!
    • to overcome the opposition — but realize that facts don’t change people’s minds
    • need support from the community — like social marketing partners
  • “deficit model thinking”: many scientists believe that the public has a knowledge gap / “info deficit” — and that when people get the right info they can make informed decisions — but that’s not what is stopping people from change and making better choices
  • for half of people in US, level of science training has NO effect on their belief about climate change — first rely on political view, then filter with their scientific training
  • colleagues can support scientists in change by using SCARF = brain-based model for influencing behavior
    • Status — will I lose respect as a scientist if I use plain language?
    • Certainty — show evidence that plain language helps people understand better
    • Autonomy
    • Relatedness — sense of safety and belonging with others — build trust and connection
    • Fairness — be transparent about asks from scientists

Social Marketing, Generational Wealth and the Power of Trust

by Annie Blake-Burke and Esther Brown at DH

  • Small Business FlexFund — partnership between National Dept of Commerce and WA
  • partner with trusted community organizations
  • research approach: “insight interviews”
  • approach: relationship building
  • lessons: come prepared to listen, be flexible

Increasing employer willingness to hire people with disability:

The perspective of disability employment service providers

by Rula Mahasneh (presenting from Australia!)

  • PhD project: Improving employer willingness to hire people with disability: a social marketing study
    • Stage 1: comprehensive understanding — perspective of disability employment consultants <– currently on this stage
    • Stage 2: survey development — segmentation analysis (sources of heterogeneity among employers)
    • Stage 3: designing and testing social marketing messages
  • literature review to understand factors influencing employer willingness to hire people with disabilities
  • emerging literature about social marketing approaches to better include disabled people in society
  • define what we need to know
    • perceived facilitators and barriers to hiring
    • perceived employers’ attitudes
    • perceived “important others” to employers
    • social marketing approaches used to influence employers’ willingness to hire
  • interviews with business owners
    • employers have largely negative attitude toward hiring disabled people — unless have personal experience with disability
    • “important others” are customers, community, and employees
    • effective social marketing approaches: educational, interactive (e.g. facilitate job shadows), relational
  • implications
    • Theoretical: biz size (small vs. large biz) & location (rural vs. urban) are a source of heterogeneity
    • Methodological: discrepancy between self-reported attitudes and actual hiring practices
    • Practical: add midstream social marketing techniques to existing downstream techniques

How can a social marketing approach help prevent school mass shootings?

by Nancy Lee

  • started with research into existing data, strategies, and patterns
    • 92% of school shooters planned in advance
    • in 75% of shootings, people saw warning signs in advance
    • 68% of shooters take the gun from their home or a friend / family member’s homes
  • social marketing response = promote desired behaviors:
    • learn the warning signs that someone is at risk of hurting themselves or others
    • report the warning signs to a 24/7 crisis center
  • app with education and anonymous reporting tool — designed by parents of school shooting victims, pledge
    • priority audience
    • clear specific behaviors
  • more social marketing approaches that could be tried:
    • gun owners: secure and store guns safely
    • communities: offer gun buy-backs

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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