Partner Selection

Unless you have the capability to run every element of your social marketing programme yourself, you will need to identify partners to help you deliver it. Some individuals or organisations may be able to support in several of the suggested areas.

Some partnerships will be short-term and tactical (e.g. a contract with a movie production company to create a short film; a contract with an influencer to promote your brand on social media). Others will be long-term and strategic (a partnership without which the intervention could not exist).

Partners might include…

Long-term and strategic


An implementation agency to roll-out the campaign in your target market.


A research agency to assist with evaluation design or implementation.


An event management agency to facilitate on-ground activity.


Stakeholders with expertise in your audience, issue or social marketing principles (see ‘Understanding your audience’), or those who are gatekeepers to reaching your audience.

Short-term and tactical


Influencers to bring reach or credibility with your target audience.


Specialist asset creators (e.g. photographer, videographer, production company).


A design agency to develop your brand or key assets.


Media partners to amplify and air your messages, whether through paid media or PR.



At the heart of the SKY Girls programme in Botswana was a partnership between two organisations: Good Business, a social marketing agency based in the UK, and The Dialogue Group, a communications agency based in Botswana. These two agencies were supported by a range of others across different elements of the programme.

This same partnership structure is now used across all SKY countries (excluding Botswana, where The Dialogue Group has taken on full delivery of the SKY Girls programme). Each partner brings expertise the other does not have: one, a deep knowledge of social marketing principles; the other, practical implementation skills combined with market-specific understanding of how to communicate effectively with local teenage girls. Finding these local partners is the first and most important step in launching a SKY Girls programme in a new country.

Co-creating SKY Girls Botswana with Good Business allowed us to combine our deep understanding of the target audience and the local communications landscape with their knowledge of data-driven strategy and international campaigns. After 5 years of working with Good Business on SKY, we were awarded a direct grant to continue implementing in Botswana, as well as launching in Zambia.
Elle Brooks, Account Director, SKY Girls Botswana & Zambia

Additional Resources

SKY Girls Implementation Agency Brief

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SKY Girls Research Agency Brief

View resource


Selecting Partners

Choosing the right partners is essential for the success of any intervention, including SKY Girls. When selecting a national partner, we use six key criteria:


Experience of the issue, target audience and/or social marketing


Quality of strategic thinking


Level of creativity & innovation


Ability to implement across all channels


Budget management


Project management & relationship-building

We then hold a three-stage pitching process during which agencies are asked to provide evidence of each of these capabilities.

Finding the right people to roll-out the SKY Girls programme is crucial. We’re looking for not just the right experience, but the right attitude: the drive to succeed.
Andrew Lord, Account Director, SKY Girls

Brand identity

To build awareness and credibility around your intervention, you need a compelling, consistent visual and verbal identity.

Unless you have internal creative capabilities, you’ll likely need to brief a creative agency on developing these.

Your creative brief should set out:

1. Background

Details of your organisation and the problem you’re trying to solve.

2. Intervention

Your intervention and approach (for example, any framing factors within your theory of change, the key messages you want to land).

3. Target audience

What you know about your target audience (drawing on your audience research). What is their demographic? Who and what do they care about? If you already have details of influencers, brands or campaigns that you know appeal to your target, include these here.

4. Wider market

Anything you know about the wider market. Who is competing for your audience’s attention? What makes you different?

5. Deliverables

The outputs you’re looking for (e.g. a logo, a magazine, a style guide) including file formats if you know these.

6. Timelines

How long you will work together, and frequency of interaction.

7. Budget

If you have a set budget, be clear about it upfront.

8. Key stakeholders

Who will be working with the designers? Who are the decision-makers, and who needs to be kept informed?

9. Success criteria

Any targets or key performance indicators you will use to measure success (e.g. reach of a social media asset).

Outputs from the brief might include:

A brand logo and guidance on how to use it

Key visual guidelines, such as colour palettes, fonts, backgrounds

Photography and image guidelines

Channel Strategy

Your channel strategy will determine how and where you reach your target audience. You may want to develop new channels (e.g. a print magazine) or to integrate your intervention into existing channels (e.g. through a celebrity influencer partnership). Depending on your market and target audience, your channels might include:

On-ground events at popular locations e.g. mall pop-ups, schools clubs

TV shows or movies

Radio advertising or editorial

Print magazines or digital magazines

Outdoor branding e.g. billboards

Social Media

Influencers or brand partnerships

SKY Girls needs to be wherever girls are: reaching them at multiple times and in multiple ways, becoming part of their world. Our task is not to create a campaign, but a community.
Svetlana Polikarpova, Account Director, SKY Girls Kenya

Additional Resources

SKY Girls Channels: What We’ve Learnt

View resource


Reach, aspiration, impact

To be effective in changing behaviour, SKY Girls has to deliver across three areas: reach, aspiration and impact. Without being aspirational or wide-reaching, our audience will not listen to our impact messaging, but being wide-reaching and aspirational alone are not enough if we cannot use our brand to change behaviour.

Having a mixture of channels helps to ensure our campaign is delivering in these three areas. For example, a presence on sites like Instagram allows mass reach at a low cost, and helps SKY Girls be seen as aspirational to girls – but our research suggests that it is less effective at delivering impactful anti-smoking messaging than our print magazine, which has lower reach. Therefore, we operate these channels in tandem: using social media to direct girls to print and digital versions of the magazine.

Media Landscape Review

To inform your channel strategy, you’ll need to understand the current media landscape. Research the channels your target audience currently use, but also where the ‘white space’ is – you don’t want to be just competing for attention in an overly crowded market.

Additional Resources

SKY Girls Media Landscape Brief

View resource