Everywhere I look, I see a mustache. It’s November and so I immediately think of prostate cancer, men’s health, and Movember. This got me reflecting on what makes for a memorable health-awareness campaign like Movember. One that really stands out and compels people to act. Let’s consider a few:

Movember (Global)

Every November, men are encouraged to grow a mustache to raise awareness and research funds for men’s health issues where early screening can be a difference-maker. The Movember Foundation describes its mission as “Stopping men dying too young”. Focusing on the meaningful relationships that people have with the men in their lives: fathers, partners, brothers and friends.

Bell Let’s Talk (Canada)

On January 31, Canadians are encouraged to overturn the stigma of silencing mental illness by talking about this extremely common health issue. Bell Let’s Talk reminds the world of the reality that “Mental illness affects us all”; a bold and inclusive statement.

SickKids (Toronto)

With strong imagery of real SickKids children as superheroes and warriors, SickKids Hospital launched an awareness campaign at the height of their fundraising season: SickKids VS. the greatest challenges in child health. “More than 100 SickKids staff members were involved in the filming, along with 50 patient families.”
What do these campaigns have in common?

An appeal to human nature: Relationships, reality, and real people. I don’t know how these campaigns came to be or what kind of research informed them. What I do know is that connecting with audiences on a human level is essential to stand out amidst the “noise”. It is why we strongly advocate for understanding the human connections and belief systems of patients and caregivers to better communicate with them for better patient outcomes. As a first step, sponsors typically conduct online surveys and/or focus groups. These research methods are great at laying a foundation to build upon. However, they fail to uncover the unconscious belief systems that influence an individual’s decision-making process. This information is a key factor to developing awareness campaigns and materials that resonate.

What are you doing to better understand the people you are trying to help and reach?