We recently worked on a large-scale social norms campaign across 10 communities in the Yorkshire & Humber at what was essentially 10 campaigns running at the same time. SoNIC (Social Norms In the Community) was our biggest marketing challenge to date, but certainly worth the effort.

This commission was a community-developed campaign with the aim of dispelling any misperceptions about smoking in the community and working with members of each community to come up with their brand, marketing strategy and execution.

Social norms refer to what we perceive or believe to be normal and accepted behaviours.

Research has shown however that these perceptions are often inaccurate and tend to be overestimated. A social norms approach aims to correct these misperceptions through the promotion of information relating to what the norms actually are in a given population. A Social Norms approach involves five key stages: preparation, initial data collection, strategy development, implementation, and evaluation.

This pilot is now being studied nationally to see what we have learned and how we can improve health marketing messages going forward.