Rare trains local conservation leaders all over the world to change the way their communities relate to nature. Its signature method is called a “Pride campaign” – so named because it inspires people to take pride in the species and habitats that make their communities unique, while also introducing viable alternatives to environmentally destructive practices.
Pride campaigns are based largely on principles of social marketing, a field that draws on the behavioral sciences and uses techniques of commercial marketing to change behavior to achieve a specific social goal (Andreasen 1995; Kotler and Zaltman 1971). Until recently, the social marketing approach has been applied mostly to the field of public health, however conservationists have begun to embrace it as a way to move beyond traditional approaches to raising awareness. The principles of social marketing teach that to change behavior we must first identify and understand the motivations of the specific group of people whose behavior we want to change. The approach also highlights the need to appreciate the barriers that may prevent the group from changing their behavior, regardless of their knowledge of or attitude toward the issue at hand. Many of the more important tenets of the behavioral sciences and social marketing inform the Pride approach to behavior change.
Pride campaigns are run by local partners over a two to three-year period while they are trained and closely supported by Rare. At its core, a Pride campaign inspires people to take pride in the species and habitats that make their communities unique, while also promoting alternatives to environmentally destructive practices. Rare’s partners borrow proven private sector marketing tools – like mascots, billboards, public events and radio shows – to promote more sustainable behaviors that benefit people and nature. Often times, the first thing people recognize about Rare Pride campaigns are the charismatic mascots creatively designed by partners to represent a flagship species for each and every campaign.
The following pages outline the guiding principles of Rare’s Pride program and the scientific foundations upon which they are based. It is not a step-by-step manual on how to design and implement a Pride campaign, but rather a synopsis designed to help staff, partners and other stakeholders understand how and why Pride works to change behaviors so that people and nature thrive. Entire volumes can and have been written on the extensive theory that informs these principles – duplicating that effort here is impossible. Rather, the Principles of Pride are a quick guide to the essence of Rare’s social marketing approach, its underlying theory, and the key principles which guide it. It is based on over 25 years of lessons learned from more than 250 Pride campaigns in 57 countries across the globe. Where relevant, references are cited throughout the document to enable the curious reader to explore topics in greater detail.