Recently, I spoke to graduate students about the basic principles of business development. My purpose was to create an understanding of how to develop alliances between two companies or between a nonprofit organization and a corporation for mutual benefit. I asked how many in the class are...
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Our job is to handle the fire and EMS problem, so that is what we are going to do with the tools that we have. Social marketing is one of the tools we can use to change behavior. It is all of the prevention and public education that we do.
Fire service marketing maintains that both of these key areas — public service marketing and social marketing — play off of each other to effectively gain public support while we are doing our jobs. Because the firefighter is a role model and so admired in this country, we have an amazing opportunity to affect positive change in our communities, we have a noble calling, and a family of intelligent, strong brothers and sisters. But, our existence is not just dependent on our intelligence or our strength, or even on our effectiveness. It is dependent on the public's knowledge and support of the service we provide. And that is dependent on marketing.
BEN MAY, a Firehouse® contributing editor, has been developing the discipline of fire and emergency services marketing management for more than 15 years. He has been a firefighter for Montgomery County, MD, Fire and Rescue and fire commissioner for the Woodinville, WA, Fire and Life Safety District. May holds a bachelor's degree in public affairs from the University of Oklahoma and a master's degree in international communication from the American University in Washington, D.C. He has been a vice president of two international marketing firms over the last 25 years, and now is responsible for business development for Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort.