Social marketing was the focus of the Ohio County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition's social marketing task force meeting.
Members of the coalition met in Wheeling earlier this month to review recent projects and the coalition's media plans for the upcoming year.
Considering the recent Cabinet-to-Street Forum the coalition conducted on Nov. 21 at West Virginia Northern Community College, members reviewed how they can develop follow-up steps to increase the impact of such kinds of events. The forum proved to be an important step for the coalition as 91 people attended, many of whom offered feedback through evaluations. For the group, the event also garnered many public responses via social media.
Samples of last year’s Above the Influence logo youth submissions hang in the Ohio County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition office in Wheeling.
Photo by Rebecca Olsavsky
Martha Polinksy, project coordinator, said in all of its media efforts, the coalition focuses on a message of prevention.
"We are selling prevention," Polinsky said. "It's the idea that you can change your community."
To sell that message, the coalition plans to expand on tactics that have already proven effective as well create campaign ideas that will capture attention.
"It's about replacing negative messages with positive messages," Polinsky said.
According to Polinsky and Lori Garrett-Bumba, program director, some of their most successful campaigns have been those within the past year, including Cabinet-to-Street and a campaign focusing on bath salts. Garrett-Bumba said the most effective messages are those that are "all pieces to the puzzle" rather than one-time activities.
Both Polinsky and Garrett-Bumba believe that as kids are very affected by media, it is important to have youth involvement in prevention strategies. Garrett-Bumba emphasized the power of "by youth, for youth" campaigns.
Once a month, Polinsky visits Wheeling Park High School for an Above the Influence/OCSAPC partnership. Above the Influence is part of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.