An Investigation Into The Use Of Partnerships In National Social Marketing Campaigns In England

Shaw, David John (2021). An Investigation Into The Use Of Partnerships In National Social Marketing Campaigns In England. PhD thesis The Open University.



National government programmes to tackle behavioural issues impacting on public health in England have adopted a social marketing approach and the resultant campaigns have increasingly contained a partnerships element. However, there is a lack of academic literature regarding partnerships in social marketing particularly the contribution of partnerships to national behaviour change campaigns.

This research investigates the use of partnerships in national social marketing campaigns to generate a greater understanding of how partnerships are defined, why partnerships are used, how partnerships are created and maintained over time, and what the outcomes of partnerships are. Understanding these aspects of partnerships provides knowledge about their contribution to social marketing.

This research uses a case-study methodology within Public Health England, triangulating data from: (i) participant observation; (ii) analysis of documents; and (iii) semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis of the entire data set suggests the approach to partnerships in national social marketing campaigns has evolved.

The reason why partnerships are used in national social marketing campaigns has changed from being simply a promotional tactic to support the communication of campaign messages to becoming a strategic component of the overall macro-level social marketing approach. The development process for partnerships has changed to reflect this approach to social marketing with a small number of long-term strategic partnerships being created and maintained. The outcomes of partnerships relate to both the campaigns and the individual partnerships themselves.

This study contributes to knowledge and practice by proposing and defining a new way of thinking about partnerships in national social marketing campaigns. Partnerships can be viewed holistically as a strategic concept in social marketing that supports the objective of behaviour change. As a concept, partnerships can play a strategic role in the long-term development and delivery of solutions to tackle complex social problems at a national level.

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