Using Behavior Change Strategies in Health Campaigns

Can a campaign really help create positive changes in health habits? When we came across this keynote addressing behavior change strategies, it was great to see that we’ve been reading from the same book on driving healthy change when it comes to developing our client campaigns. Whether we’re encouraging audiences to consider switching to an osteopathic physician for a holistic approach to health, knowing the symptoms to identify a heart arrhythmia or making better decisions to live healthier every day, changes in behavior related to a person’s health come in many different forms.

The key to behavior change is to “identify meaningful benefits to the person engaging in the behavior,” stated to Dr. Matthew Kreuter, PhD, MPH, from The Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, during his keynote at the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) Spring 2017 Conference.

Dr. Kreuter noted that each of the following elements plays a role in an effective change in behavior, “Promoting behavior change in ways that make it very personally relevant, using authentic stories from credible messengers that stimulate emotion, trying to identify meaningful benefits and meaningful consequences for the behaviors you’re trying to promote…”

We use these tactics when collaborating with clients to build health campaigns that target audiences to create a positive change.

1. Authentic Stories
For a campaign to be authentic, it needs to have a relatable story that makes sense for the organization and creates a connection with its audience.

Patient stories, current research or studies, or employee stories all create authentic opportunities to resonate with audiences throughout a campaign.

2. Credible Messengers
For each campaign, we identify a subject-matter expert to be the spokesperson for the campaign. This will most likely be someone in the health field that’s related to the main topic – ex: MD, DO, nutritionist, psychologist, etc.

Not only do subject-matter experts add credibility to a campaign, but they can also devote time to participate in tactics, such as satellite media tours, local events, in-person media interviews and audio news recordings so that messages are delivered to the right audiences.

3. Meaningful Benefits & Consequences
In addition to setting goals for the campaign, we also outline the outcome for participants from the campaign. Are there opportunities to decrease long-term health risks? Will individuals see an immediate impact by participating? Knowing these benefits and/or consequences helps direct a campaign to better engage audiences.

Learn More