Improving Your Life through Healthy Behavior Change
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Delivering Authentic Messages in Lifestyle Marketing Campaigns

lose-weight-nowSeen a promotion lately about a new diet guaranteed to drop 15 pounds, an exercise regimen that will have you in peak shape in only a few weeks or a supplement that will erase all signs of any disease or even, the innovative ingredient that will remove all signs of aging?  With the numbers of ads in the digital sectors, chances are you have.

What was your reaction?   Did you feel that the author was delivering an authentic message?  The real question is, even though they sound miraculous, have they compelled you to make a change in your daily behavior?  While they may appeal to your emotional pain points, and some may work well with the proper compliance, there are some essential elements for a promotion to create a healthy change that can make an impact on peoples’ lives.  Without these essential elements, the promotion or message may not sound very authentic.

While the industries related to lifestyle marketing (Health, Fitness, Wellness and Nutrition related) are continuing to gain impact in the U.S., there is a growing need for addressing the marketing and promoting of these fields.  We find many passionate individuals who are committed to the “craft” of wellness, nutrition, fitness, etc. yet feel uncomfortable regarding the notion of marketing and promoting.  The feelings of discomfort can range from simply not knowing how to craft a message all the way to experiencing feelings of fraud when even considering promoting their business on Social Media.

Perhaps due to the number of advertisements out there missing the essential elements of a proper marketing assessment, too many find themselves with the opinion that all marketing equals aggressive, addigital-tower-of-babel-you-might-say-everyone-is-speaking-but-few-are-understandingd-subheadingquestionable and sometimes even unethical appearing promotions.  Additionally, with the advent of Social Media, we find also, that too many messages get lost in the myriad of this digital Tower of Babel.  You could say; everyone is speaking, but few are understanding the message you’re trying to get across.

It’s easier to connect with a heartfelt story of successful change, or a well-placed visual that captures the eye with an emotional or bold image.  The concept of using a personal successful change can be especially powerful in for marketing in general, and especially for marketing in the health, wellness and fitness industries.

So what are the essential elements of a proper marketing promotion? To develop effective, authentic campaign it’s important to consider the following essential elements: 1) your own journey/story and who will connect to you (primary audience); 2) the steps of healthy change (what triggers blocked you and what steps supported you); 3) what delivery method will you use (where should you connect with your primary audience).

Your Own Journey

We all have life events or stories that mark our memories and significant moments. Our lives revolve around them and find meaning from them.  Perhaps your story includes an adventure that compelled you to make a shift in your behavior and habits toward a healthy change. Experiencing your own journey through a meaningful change is probably what contributed to your wanting to become part of a social movement trend.  This trend allows you to feel that you make a difference and what may influence your desire to share the gift of living a quality life.  Some may even feel called to be a health and fitness evangelist.  Reviewing on paper the triggers, the roadblocks, the trials and successes are helpful when recalling your story and may remind you of the feelings you felt on that journey.

Understanding the impact your own journey had upon you is worth considering in order to connect with your best initiral audience or tribe.  Discovering and developing the “moral” of your own personal story, allows you to capture what has moved you, inspired you and guided you to make the healthy change that you did.  Knowing what changed you, can allow you to have more clarity on who and how you can help inspire and promote healthy change for others.  Your audience wants to know that you are authentic; a real person who’s had real life experiences (struggles).

Inspiring and Promoting Healthy Change

Understanding the nature of habits and behaviors, especially as you craft the story from your own journey, will help you connect with your audience.  Remembering where and what created the obstacles and successes to your healthy change can help you inspire, motivate, promote and coach others through their own healthy change process.

It’s important to consider that even though your audience may relate to your story, they are often at various stages of their own journey toward healthy change.  This is when behavior sciences provides useful communication tools for connecting with your audience.  One model that is particularly useful is the Stages of Change Model which suggests that we go through five stages to make a change long-lasting and successful:

  1. Non-compliance or anti  (Pre-contemplation) – needs information on the benefits of change
  2. Awareness  (Contemplation) – needs more positives than negatives for changing
  3. Planning  (Preparation) – plan, plan, plan!  Supplies, support, schedule, barriers, etc.
  4. Practicing  (Action) – needs motivation to keep going
  5. Managing – (Maintaining) – needs reminders of benefits, commitment

By considering the communication and support styles in each of the behavior stages, you increase the impact that your promotions will have upon your audience as they themselves go through the internal and external process of change.   Consider how the wording and style of your promotions may look as you speak to your current and potential clients with the voice they are ready to hear during their own journey.  When you’re delivering with an authentic voice, your audience will recieve it

When your writing methodology addresses the various stages of change throughout your campaign, your primary audience will feel that you really “get” them.  Additionally, it is important to remember that your primary audience themselves may be at various stages of change when they see your campaign, or they might also have recently relapsed into a previous stage due to a recent stressful event.  By adding the variety of support, your chances of positively impacting that relationship with your primary audience significantly improves.

In preparation for designing and determining your messages review the following articles on Behavior Change articles to make sure that you understand and involve the concepts into your promotions:

What Delivery Method

As you ponder your journey and your audience, you will also want to consider where and how to reach them in order to deliver your promotional campaign.  Your primary and future audience’s current communication preferences will inform you of where you should be reaching out to them.  The more groups you joing and contribute to  as well as the more constructive comments you add to those groups, the more likely you are to learn where your best audience is interacting.

The delivery method also serves to inform you of the appropriate communication style for your primary audience.  For example, if your audience tends to more active on Twitter, then your communication style needs to match a more abbreviated style used there, which may also include memes, infographics, etc.  On Facebook, you have the option of including more of a personal journal or history – where you may log and share your own journey through healthy change.  Instagram combines some of both styles with an emphasis on the visual.  LinkedIn’s encourages networking and supports the focus on the professional aspect of your message.

Review and connect with others are who may be sharing a similar journey as well as other groups who are also reaching out to your primary and secondary audience.  Searching for topics, tags and #hashtags that relate to your journey toward healthy change may help you find ways to connect with your desired audience.  This helps you find colleagues as well and clients with which to create an amiable community of change.

Understanding the styles for each delivery medium aids your own process for delivering the right message in the right format for the right people in the way they like, and need, to receive it.  This will help you feel more connected to the people you desire to serve in their journey through healthy change.  By sharing your own journey toward healthy change including messaging that incorporates the stages of healthy change and delivering the campaign in your audiences’ platform, it allows you to sound more authentic, increasing the potential for interaction and ultimately produce more sales.

Here’s to Delivering Your Best Authentic Messages in Your Lifestyle Campaigns!

Additional Resources:

 

Dr Wendy Guess
Dr Wendy Guess

Drawing on the fields of marketing, anthropology, health, wellness and dance along with some wacky life adventures, Dr. Guess shares “edutaining” action steps to inspire healthy change for individuals and social entrepreneurs on becoming a Healthy Change Agent! She consults, travels and coordinates the Health and Fitness Marketing Certificate program at FIU.

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