The recently published PHE Marketing Strategy has received several nods of approval here at Social Sense. For years, our own positive, digital first approach has been battling against the same traditional, negative health scare campaigns or one-way messages from box tickers without consultation or any real evaluation.
In more recent times, programmes like Change4Life and the brilliant Stoptober campaign have shown the world how things should really be done.
Aligning perfectly with Social Sense’s own 7 big why’s, PHE talks about Social Norms, engaging more ‘positively’, embracing a “Mobile First” Digital Engagement position and how creating nationally run campaigns are more effective when harnessed and delivered locally.
Add in a little bit of ‘frugal innovation’ and you have a collection of principals that echo everything we believe to be essential to the future of Social Marketing in this country.
Crucially, PHE talks about the need for sustainable partnership working between private companies (yes astonishingly it is possible to be profitable yet socially driven!), public sector and charities.
The whole report is fascinating to read (well for someone who is as marketing obsessed as me perhaps…), however if you are short of time I’ve picked out one key part which really grabbed our attention.
Supporting the need for Early Intervention and Social Norms (pg 39)
“Previous campaign activity and evidence is clear: focusing on changing adolescent attitudes does not work. Communicating health messaging once behaviours are established or tried for the first time is also ineffective.”
Communicating early to young people about health issues is critical as the attitudes and behaviours shaped at this early stage influence behaviour in later life. Between the ages of 11 and 16 we develop the beliefs and behaviours that play a big role in determining what we think and do in later life.
This group receives lots of misinformation from their peers and the media, which can lead to misinterpretation of social norms, increasing the pressure they feel if they think all people in their age are smoking, drinking or having sex.
They may also use what they believe to be normal behaviour within their peer groups as a guide for their own behaviour. Approximately 600,000 young people enter this age group each year, highlighting the need for activity to be ‘always on’.
And so our quest continues to ensure that we can share our own evidence based approach across more regions throughout the UK. This report indicates we’re continuing on the right track.
In summary my greatest encouragement from this report is that we have finally left behind the tired old days of simply broadcasting messages.
The UK is pioneering innovative, evidence based, sustainable ways of helping people to help themselves and each other. Importantly, the PHE way of working is helping them to find the motivation within themselves to want to do so.