simplified FOP symbol system include extensive testing and consumer evaluation prior to implementation. The committee did not examine questions specific to implementation of an FOP symbol system, including responsibilities for its cost, management, and enforcement.


Principles of Social Marketing

Social marketing, the application of commercial marketing techniques to the development, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of programs designed to influence health-relevant behaviors in target audiences, offers a systematic approach to guide the promotion of health behavior in defined populations (Andreasen, 1995). In addition, an effective marketing mix yields an opportune interchange that minimizes barriers and maximizes benefits to promote a given behavior among a target audience. The process of social marketing involves identification of an optimal “marketing mix” of the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion (NCI, 2004). Details of the marketing mix are shown in Table 8-1. The four Ps of social marketing are substantively grounded in behavior change theory, which guides assessment of the behavior of target audience members and offers insight into factors that might influence behavior change (NCI, 2004). Thus, this approach is ideally suited to the goal of a single, simplified FOP symbol system, i.e., maximizing the opportunity to encourage consumers to make healthier food choice and purchase decisions while minimizing barriers.

Rationale for a Social Marketing Approach

Considerable evidence supports the effectiveness of social marketing in modifying health behavior at the population level (Hogan et al., 2002; Snyder, 2007). A recent review of evidence of the effectiveness of health communication campaigns, drawing upon meta-analyses and other literature, revealed that health communication campaigns, on average, influence relevant community behavior by approximately 5 percentage points with somewhat greater impact shown for nutrition campaigns (Snyder, 2007). One such social marketing campaign that resulted in behavior change is VERB: It’s What You Do. This campaign, administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2002 to 2006, promoted physical activity among youth ages 9-13 years (Caville and Maibach, 2008). The campaign used a combination of paid advertising, marketing strategies, and partnership efforts and employed branding and message strategy grounded in behavioral theory that was developed and integrated into campaign planning and implementation (Bandura, 1986; Ajzen, 1991; Huhman et al., 2004). Through development of messages derived from consumer research, and dissemination through multiple media and marketing efforts, the VERB campaign achieved significant population impact (Banspach, 2008; Huhman et al., 2010).

TABLE 8-1 The Marketing Mix of the Four Ps

Marketing Mix Component Definition Examples
Product The promoted behavior and attendant benefits Choose a healthier food product while grocery shopping
Price The barriers or costs associated with adoption of the promoted behavior Time Money Taste
Place A convenient location to deliver the product and its benefits Point of purchase
Promotion The process of delivering the product and its benefits to the target market Communication campaigns Branding strategies

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