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Helping local teams communicate health messages cost-effectively

The most effective way to reduce the escalation of the cost of treating disease is to prevent it from happening in the first place. One of the methods used by the DOH to achieve better understanding of health issues, and to encourage active personal prevention, is through the work of their local NHS communications professionals – teams who reach out to their communities with messages such as the importance of the MMR vaccine, or exercise for the elderly.

The teams face two challenges: very low budgets, and the inability to pool resources to achieve economies of scale – because each region’s ethnic and demographic profile implies different message mixes. An area with a high density of people of Asian ethnicity, for example, would need to prioritise communications about diabetes – which is more prevalent in Asian cultures – and these messages
would need to take note of specific, local and cultural sensitivities.

Passionbrand worked with the Department of Health to conduct a series of ‘marketing masterclass’ sessions with communications teams up and down the country, focusing on innovative, cost effective (sometimes zero-cost) ways of reaching and influencing highly specific target groups.

The tool used was Passionbrand’s Zones of Perception framework, a structured process that encourages teams to think in new ways about engaging people without using paid-for media – focusing instead on highly original touchpoints and initiatives that score well on a scale of ‘vividness’.

“Passionbrand worked with us as part of an integrated team to review and develop ideas for local communication and engagement. They brought the benefits of an outside perspective but were also able to understand the unique needs of the healthcare system and develop original, but above all, practical solutions.”Deborah Hankins, Deputy DirectorNHS and Social Care Communications