200408 Health of the Gulf of Mexico: Developing an Environmental Awareness Campaign

Monday, November 9, 2009

Moya Alfonso, MSPH, PhD , Jiann Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
James Lindenberger , Center for Social Marketing, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Carol A. Bryant, PhD , Florida Prevention Research Center, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Jason Lind , Center for Social Marketing, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Jaime Nodarse , College of Public Health, Community and Family Health and College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Applied Anthropology, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Mary Martinasek, MPH, CHES , Community and Family Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Lee Yokel , Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Dauphin Island, AL
The Gulf of Mexico is the ninth largest water body in the world, accounting for half the wetlands in the United States and teeming with sea life. The Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) is preparing to mount an environmental education campaign. The two primary priorities for this effort are nutrient loading reduction and development of a branding campaign to improve community participation in improving Gulf health. As a precursor to campaign development, qualitative data were collected in each of the five Gulf states (i.e., Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana). Four primary audience groups were sampled: residents living in the five states, policy makers, environmental advocates, and other opinion makers. Ten focus group interviews were conducted, three of which were with Spanish speakers (N=74). In addition, 58 key informant interviews were conducted. Three individual interviews were conducted with members of the general public. Results suggested people will adopt behaviors to protect Gulf of Mexico health when they feel a personal connection to the Gulf. Problems related to the Gulf's health need to be communicated in local terms, using local spokespersons, and locally viable solutions. The Gulf is seen as a central, omni-present force; as an encompassing influence that impacts Gulf communities in every facet of life. Building a brand position in which GOMA reflects that view will establish audience rapport and communicate a connection between GOMA's mission and organizational culture and this intrinsic element of the Gulf community's persona. Results were used to develop a social marketing plan.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the importance of the Gulf of Mexico to local communities; Identify qualitative approaches for campaign formative research Discuss data-based implications for campaign development

Keywords: Water, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I led the research team conducting the research, conducted research, and wrote the report.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.