Health campaigns that target by using multi-faceted communication tactics have proven to be more effective when improving behavior change. In this article, The Community Guide explores which tactics work best when combined for a more streamlined approach.
The Community Guide is a science-based research operation group that seeks to select interventions that improve health conditions and prevent disease in various areas. Maren N. Robinson, MPH, Kristin A. Tansil, MSW, Randy W. Elder, Ph.D., MEd, Robin E. Soler, Ph.D., Magdala P. Labre, Ph.D., Shawna L. Mercer, MSc, Ph.D., Dogan Eroglu, Ph.D., Cynthia Baur, Ph.D., Katherine Lyon-Daniel, Ph.D., Fred Fridinger, DrPH, Lynn A. Sokler, BS, Lawrence W. Green, DrPH, Therese Miller, DrPH, James W. Dearing, Ph.D., William D. Evans, Ph.D., Leslie B. Snyder, Ph.D., K. Kasisomayajula Viswanath, Ph.D., Diane M. Beistle, BA, Doryn D. Chervin, DrPH, DSc, Jay M. Bernhardt, Ph.D., MPH, Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, and the Community Preventive Services Task Force conducted a systematic review of 22 studies that were designed to discover what effects the distribution of health-related products combined with media messages had on behavior change.
Health communication and social marketing campaigns use integrated strategies to deliver messages that are deliberately designed to influence a target’s attitude or behavior toward a specific health topic. One common way to apply social marketing to health communication is to combine the use of a marketing campaign with the distribution of free or reduced-priced products. The authors say this practice allows the target to see the benefits of engaging in the behavior willingly.
A systematic review of health campaigns promoting behavior change with multi-faceted communication channels and tactics was conducted. The researchers began by analyzing first the frameworks of health communication campaigns and social marketing and then developing criteria for health-related products from their intervention definition. The studies they reviewed included types of behaviors promoted by direct protection (distribution of condoms, child safety seats, recreational safety helmets, sun-protection products); health-promoting behaviors (increased physical activity through pedometer distribution); and facilitating or help refraining from harmful behaviors (smoking cessation products through free or reduced-cost over-the-counter).
The researchers found that health communication campaigns combined with product distribution can increase and incite behavior change. While health communications campaigns alone can be effective in increasing awareness and knowledge, this integrated approach with both marketing messaging and product distribution proves to be most effective when increasing the adoption of new health behaviors.
To read the full text of this study: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2014.05.034
Robinson, M., & Tansil, K. (2011). Health communication campaigns that include mass media and health-related product distribution: A review of effectiveness from the task force on community preventive services. Elsevier. doi:10.1037/e521572014-055