The roots of social marketing date back to the 1950s, when one psychologist argued that the more non-profit organizations communicated like for-profit marketers, the better their prospects for success. Then during the 1960s, practitioners in developing countries and marketing academics set the stage for the emerging field. Social marketing was formally launched in the 1970s; searched for an identity in the 1980s; and had found a unique niche by the 1990s. By 2000, social marketing was considered an established field; it now continues to grow and evolve.
Source credibility is a key factor that can impact whether audiences believe a proposition, while trust is a key factor that can influence a person’s willingness to act on advice. In this blog post, I’ll discuss the historical use of source credibility in persuasion, present a humorous example of how the tobacco industry abused credibility appeals from 1920-1950, and finally, discuss why online credibility is important in the design of online outreach campaigns.
Over 50 years ago, the psychologist G. D. Wiebe asked the question ‘Can brotherhood be sold like soap?’ In his paper, ‘Merchandising Commodities and Citizenship on Television’, Wiebe proposed that organizations which successfully ‘sell’ intangible social objects-such as goodwill, respect for the environment or community development-would be more successful if they sold their social objects the way marketers sell sports cars or mouth wash.