• Article

Strategic questions for consumer-based health communications

USING THE CONSUMER-oriented approach of social and commercial marketers, this article presents;a process for crafting messages designed to improve people's health behaviors. The process, termed consumer-based health communications (CHC), transforms scientific recommendations into message strategies that are relevant to the consumer. The core of CHC is consumer research conducted to understand the consumer's reality, and thereby allowing six strategic questions to be answered. The immediate result of the CHC process is a strategy statement-a few pages that lay out who the target consumer is, what action should be taken, what to promise and how to make the promise credible, how and when to reach him or her, and what image-to convey. The strategy statement then guides the execution of all communication efforts, be they public relations, mass media, direct marketing, media advocacy, or interpersonal influence. It identifies the most important 'levers' for contact with the consumer. Everyone from creative specialists through management and program personnel can use the strategy statement as a touchstone to guide and judge the effectiveness of their efforts. The article provides a step by step illustration of the CHC process using the 5 A Day campaign as an example


Sutton, S., Balch, GI., & Lefebvre, R. (1995). Strategic questions for consumer-based health communications. Public Health Reports, 110(6), 725-733.