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Social marketing for global health: from contraceptives
to cookstoves


Micro Enterprises and Product Development


Social marketing is an integrative approach to facilitating behavior change with broad applications to global health. For these strategies to be successful, target populations must not only have access to marketed products, but have the knowledge to use them and the desire to make the behavior a regular practice. Cultural factors always underlie messaging relevance, creating a need for high adaptability when collaborating on diverse projects.


For the past 25 years, HDI has leveraged its expertise in marketing, communications, and application of emerging technologies to launch social marketing campaigns that get results. HDI prioritizes the consumer, identifying target behaviors rather than relying on a ‘one size fits all’ intervention strategy. We also foster local growth by supporting small businesses and developing public-private partnerships. By conducting formative research, HDI assesses consumer beliefs, attitudes, and values in order to align the product/intervention with broader needs. Some of our successes include:

  • Rebranding rehydration salts to increase product uptake and combat diarrheal diseases in children in south Asia.

  • Crafting media and rebranding campaigns for contraceptives based on attitudes of the target audience.

  • Integrate culturally-specific ideals of masculinity to associate condoms with strength, wisdom, and protection in South Asia, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific.

  • Associate oral contraceptives with feminine ideals of beauty, confidence, and energy in Southeast Asia.

  • Provide micro-loans to support and expand small businesses in southeast Asia.

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