HOW DO WE PROMOTE HEALTH AND FITNESS EFFECTIVELY?
There are so many aspects of health and fitness that this is not an easy question to answer. In fact, it is very easy to be completely overwhelmed by the huge amount of health information that is on offer from many different agencies.
At this stage it is probably better to start at the basics and then to gradually progress along with your experiences of what works.
There are a multitude of health disorders that can be directly related to not exercising regularly, being overweight and being under pressure all the time. So why not tackle these areas first? This is enough to start the ball rolling, say over a 12-month period.
For most people, even making some minor lifestyle changes could result in a great reduction in personal long-term health risk, e.g. taking some regular exercise, eating more healthily and following some simple stress-control strategies.
'Wellness' is the exact opposite of illness and through our promotional efforts we are trying to encourage employees to take such steps towards living a healthier lifestyle. To make a start we should try to encourage people to follow 'The 10 Steps to Wellness'. These are listed on the next page for your information.
MARKETING TO THE MINDSET
'Hitting the hot buttons' in people's heads is not done by accident. Many well-intentioned promotion efforts fail dismally because they are poorly targeted. The more accurately your message is targeted, the greater the results.
So try to create the right kind of message the first time. Don't waste your precious time and effort promoting something that doesn't hit its target smack on.
Also remember that people do not make their decisions on the basis of logic, but on their emotions at the time. Try to work out how you might be able to affect those emotions.
You must also be patient. Much as we would like to get an immediate response this is not always realistic. It will almost certainly take several co-ordinated efforts, over a period of time, to build momentum and to get your message through.
Creating awareness is the first step in health promotion. Don't expect too much from your promotion, e.g. lifestyle change. Creating awareness doesn't necessarily change behaviour immediately, but this is the first essential step.
Don't be fuzzy, your messages should be clear and direct. You have to persuade your audience that you have something important to share and then to encourage them to sign up for it.
USING AN INTRANET TO PROMOTE WELLNESS
Using an intranet to promote wellness and to create greater health awareness amongst staff is a great idea! We have been doing this for a major company, on a monthly basis, for over a year now and have had some very positive feedback.
We try to get the message onto each desktop via e-mail and the recipient then has the choice whether to open the attachment or not and most do. We try to keep the health message both short and visual, and not too heavy. It can normally be read within a minute, which is about as much time as you will get!
If you would
like to try to do this for your organisation but are not sure how to start,
perhaps we could help you, just get in touch and we will see what we can
do. In the meantime feel free to take a look at some of our typical examples
below and perhaps give us some feedback, as we are still learning too!
CHOOSING YOUR PROMOTIONAL TOOLS
There are a variety of other promotional tools that you can use to deliver your message to your intended target audience. No one method is likely to be successful on its own and it is often a combination working together that will achieve the best results.
Initially, you may have to experiment a little and select the tools that work the best for you. Use the tools that will get your message in front of the most people.
If your target audience never actually get to see your promotional message, you will have wasted a lot of time and effort. Also, when you post your information on the notice-board, it may not get noticed because of all the other information posted. This can result in 'information overload', so try to avoid this at all costs.
You can promote your message effectively using the following promotional tools:
Well-designed posters are a common and effective way to communicate information. Think of the poster as a 5-second promotion. Keep all information brief and to the point and don't forget the 'call to action' that should urge readers to take the next step.
These are little folded cards that sit on the tables in the restaurant, etc. They can replicate posters in a briefer fashion and are very cheap to produce. They are very effective at getting your message directly in front of people when they are actually sitting down when they may have more time to consider what you are offering.
Leaflets are inexpensive, flexible and are easy to distribute in a variety of ways. One of the most effective ways of distributing leaflets is to combine them with a promotion stand and actually put them into interested people's hands.
If you are able to conduct a promotion display or a special event in your intended location then this is a very good way of grabbing attention and creating immediate awareness.
Talks or seminars
Free seminars are an excellent educational tool, as well as helping to share information about your chosen topic. However, keep it short, sharp and informative.
A good newsletter will help to build your credibility, act as a good promotional tool for your activities and also help you to maintain good communication with your readers. Keep it brief, readable and to the point. Try to make it a quality document and keep it up to date. Make it six-monthly to allow time for preparation.
The telephone can be a very effective tool, if used properly. Try to get people to call you for further information, etc. Make it easy for them and encourage conversation with a good telephone manner. A short script can help you to stay on track. Encourage with a clear, friendly voice and move gradually to a commitment.
Word of mouth
Your most powerful tool is a satisfied person, who will promote your message to other people. Good word of mouth publicity is probably the best promotional tool of all.
Don't be overwhelmed by your choice of marketing tools. A combination of just 3 or 4 may be all that you need to be very successful. Select only the tools that will ensure that your message will be seen or read by most of your target audience.
Begin in small, easy-to-manage steps. Evaluate the success of each tool as you go along. As you get some results then add some other tools. Use whatever you think is the most appropriate promotional tool, based upon the results that you are achieving.
Plan carefully and take the time to maximise your chances of success. Many good intentions fail miserably because insufficient time was allowed for planning. Try to avoid last-minute panic by planning ahead.
Lastly, once you have made a promotional plan that you think is absolutely right, then stick with it. It will take time to get your message through, so allow time for it all to work.
Wellness Managment Ltd. 2002