NSE31 Fall Week 11
Class 11 Health Promotion Strategies (IV): Health Communication, Social Marketing, and Media Advocacy
Health Communication Unit (2007). Overview of health communication campaigns, Version 3.2 (pp.1-9). Toronto: Centre for
Health Promotion, University of Toronto. Retrieved from
Comprehensive communication campaigns:
are goal-oriented attempts to inform, persuade or motivate behaviour change;
are ideally aimed at the individual, network, organizational and societal levels;
are aimed at a relatively large, well-defined audience (i.e. they are not interpersonal persuasion on a one-
to-one or one-to-few level);
provide non-commercial benefits to the individual and/or society;
occur during a given time period, which may range from a few weeks (e.g., traffic information for an
upcoming holiday weekend) to many years (e.g., Health Canadas anti-tobacco media campaigns);
are most effective when they include a combination of media, interpersonal and community events; and,
involve an organized set of communication activities. At a mini- mum, this involves message production and
Three Approaches to Communication Media, Interpersonal Communication, and Events
Media: are an appropriate approach for certain objectives of communication campaigns, but not all.
Ex: limited involvement or interaction is only possible through mass media. For this reason, a combination of
mass media and interpersonal communication tends to be more effective.
-Interpersonal communication often flows from media messages, as opinion leaders and others share what
they have learned, endorse messages, and otherwise enhance the impact of the media activities.
Interpersonal communication allows for much greater participation where interaction and feedback are
required. It is often enhanced by the use of audio-visual aids, props and other forms of multimedia.
Events combine both media and interpersonal communication and are often promoted and reported on
through the media (e.g., news and features). Events are designed to be newsworthy.
-For this reason, media coverage is a key objective and indicator of success. This type of combined approach
reaches large numbers of people but also provides opportunities for participation through interpersonal
12 Steps Involved in Developing a Communication Campaign
Health Communication Action Steps
1. Get Started
2. Revisit Your Health Promotion Strategy
3. Analyze and Segment Audiences
4. Develop Inventory of Communication Resources
5. Set Communication Objectives
6. Select Vehicles and Channels
7. Combine and Sequence Communication Activities
8. Develop the Message Strategy
9. Develop a Project Identity
10. Develop Materials
11. Implement Your Campaign
12. Complete Campaign
A RATIONALE FOR HEALTH COMMUNICATION
-describes important relationships between health communication and key health promotion conceptsparticularly
community organization and comprehensive, multi-level approaches -its been discovered that when communication and community organization are used together, each is strengthened. A
combination of these strategies enhances our work in health promotion.
Community Organization Strengthens Health Communication
By applying the principles of community organization to communication, our work is strengthened. For example:
Pure communication practices tend to be persuasion- and marketing-oriented. However, communication
that is combined with community organization helps define, reflect community values, and create a sense of
ownership towards significant issues in a community;
Community organization strategies also enhance the credibility of a health communication project or
activity. Involving community- based spokespersons in a campaign increases credibility with the media, other
gatekeepers and the public.
Health Communication Strengthens Community Organization
Health communication strengthens community organization by
increasing knowledge, which is essential to gaining power. Power, as the ability to take control of and
matters, is a desired outcome of community organization;
increasing the size, diversity, and strength of the bonds within networks such as coalitions;
developing an understanding of complex issues such as broad determinants of health; and,
providing the most practical, achievable, immediate activities for community groups to pursue.
Health Communication and Community Organization Support Health Promotion
A combination of community organization and health communication facilitates comprehensive multi-level health
providing education at the individual, network, organizational and societal levels;
influencing public opinion and other forms of advocacy, essential to creating a climate for policy change;
enhancing networks and social support, which are key elements of environmental support.
THE EFFECTIVENESS OF COMPREHENSIVE COMMUNICATION CAMPAIGNS
Empirical Evidence Supporting the Effectiveness of Mass Media Communication Campaigns
Mass media campaign evaluations were reviewed to determine their impact on awareness, information seeking, knowledge,
attitude, behavioural intention and behaviour. All quantitative evaluations of U.S. health campaigns published since 1980 were
included in this review. Impacts were found in the following areas:Awareness: all 15 evaluations reported changes in awareness. Simple recognition of messages was 46% (median).
Increases in awareness before and after campaigns averaged about 25%.
Information Seeking: mass media campaigns were generally successful in getting people to seek information, mainly
through telephone information and referral services.
Knowledge: 14 evaluations found impacts on knowledge. When we can be sure that the intended audience is exposed
to the campaign, dramatic increases (as great as 60%) can occur. When exposure is not guaranteed but a campaign
saturates a community, knowledge gains of about 10% are more likely.
Attitudes: all but two of 16 evaluations found significant improvement in attitudes post-campaign. When exposure
was guaranteed, as much as a 38% change in attitude was reported. In general, attitude change was modest.
Behavioural Intentions: only three of seven evaluations reporting on changes in behavioural intentions showed clear
evidence of change. Intention to change ranged widely from 19% to 73%.
Behaviour: of 29 evaluations assessing behaviour change, 20 were successful and just 9 unsuccessful. The median
change in those rigorously evaluated was 29%, with a range of 4% to 74%.
Seven Necessary Conditions for Successful and Effective Campaigns
1. Develop high-quality messages, sources and channels through needs assessment, applied theory and formative
2. Disseminate the stimuli to intended audiences, frequently and consistently, over a sustained period
3. Attract the attention of the potential receivers
4. Encourage favourable interpersonal communication about the issue
5. Change the awareness, knowledge, and/or behaviours of individuals
6. Cause societal change with supplemental community and government changes
7. Use summative evaluati