Building a Strong Public Health Campaign
It takes organization, planning, a solid leader and a supportive team to pull off a public health campaign.
Coles Marketing is in the process of working on a public health campaign for the Seafood Nutrition Partnership, a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire a healthier America by raising awareness about the essential nutritional benefits of eating seafood.
Team leader Chris Mercier has a lot on her plate as the team works to hook some meaningful partnerships.
Changing the tide on seafood
In 2014, Indianapolis was one of two pilot cities selected by the Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP) to conduct a grassroots public health educational campaign.
“Indianapolis was one of the cities selected because of our high incidents of heart disease and also because we are a population without as much access to seafood, therefore lacking the knowledge of how to select and cook it,” Mercier said.
Only one in 10 Americans follows the USDA Dietary Guidelines of eating seafood twice a week. And the biggest barrier to eating seafood is a lack of confidence to select, buy and eat it.
Coles Marketing was chosen to lead the campaign in Indianapolis — which included a series of educational events in business, healthcare and culinary communities — to raise awareness of the benefits of seafood and how to include it more frequently into daily meals.
Ingredients for a whale of a campaign
This year, as Coles Marketing prepares for a new wave of activities in October as National Seafood Month, Mercier highlighted the essential ingredients to a successful public health campaign:
- Coalition: “Develop a local coalition of community leaders who support your mission and goals,” Mercier said. “It’s important for them to have an influential network of followers or constituents to help carry the campaign’s message.”
- Events: “The goal of these educational events is to bring awareness to large and diverse groups of people about your message — in this case, seafood nutrition and the benefits of eating seafood.” These events include health fairs and cooking demonstrations.
- Health screenings: Depending on the particular health campaign, coordinating screenings may be an important component, whether it’s Omega-3 screenings, or screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes or osteoporosis.
- Communications and media outreach: “Use e-newsletters and other communications to keep your coalition in the loop, offering them information and updates to share with their network,” Mercier said. “And getting the word out through traditional and social media channels helps give that third-party recognition, endorsing and validating the campaign.”
How to reel in success
But what do you need to do to set your team up for achievement? Mercier said:
- Start early. “Get your messaging down and event dates secured in advance as much as possible.”
- Stay organized. “You are handling so many different tasks; you are bound to miss something if you don’t keep organized.”
- Have a committee. “Share duties with your team. Each person can work on a different aspect of the campaign so one member doesn’t have to do it all.”
- Gather a team of experts. “Meet both face-to-face and over the phone with coalition partners and other campaign leaders to get their feedback and support early on in the planning process.”
- Follow up. “It’s your duty to follow up with coalition members, team members and members of the media to keep your campaign on their radar.”
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