I spent my sunny Sunday in South-East London today. It’s a place renown for its high criminal activity. And I remembered a campaign created a while ago by Ogilvy and Mather which tries to decrease criminality.
In Woolwich, antisocial behaviour is reduced in an unconventional way: local baby faces are painted on the walls of shops shutters. Baby faces seem to promote a caring response in human beings and this project uses the environment to moderate behaviours.
I felt safe today. For sure CCTV contributed to this feeling. Yet, it’s in our human nature to be careful and protective when it comes to helpless babies. It’s how we make sure our species survives. You wouldn’t hurt a baby, would you?
I always believed that if all the brilliant minds in this world would team up to do good around, the world would be a better place. People called me from dreamer to optimist to idealist to fool.
Yet these days we had a talk given by an UCL alumnus who works for the British Government now, who mentioned “behavioural architecture”. I can’t stop but thinking that this is something I would like to devote my whole psychological knowledge to: changing behaviours. For social good.
From behaviour architecture to social marketing was only a step. I was surprised to see there are a couple of professional bodies who devote their work for social good and there is even a conference on social marketing (set up only last year apparently, this is yet a new field).
To clarify, social marketing is not social media marketing. According to European Social Marketing Association, Social Marketing seeks to develop and integrate marketing concepts with other approaches to influence behaviours that benefit individuals and communities for the greater social good.
Social Marketing practice is guided by ethical principles. It seeks to integrate research, best practice, theory, audience and partnership insight, to inform the delivery of competition sensitive and segmented social change programmes that are effective, efficient, equitable and sustainable.
This is how my new aim in life begins: I am now specialising to become a behavioural architect, aiming to make the world a better place. Yes, you can call me a dreamer.