• Journal Article

Systematic review of public health branding


Evans, W., Blitstein, J., Hersey, J., Renaud, J., & Yaroch, A. L. (2008). Systematic review of public health branding. Journal of Health Communication, 13(8), 721-741. DOI: 10.1080/10810730802487364


Brands build relationships between consumers and products, services, or lifestyles by providing beneficial exchanges and adding value to their objects. Brands can be measured through associations that consumers hold for products and services. Public health brands are the associations that individuals hold for health behaviors, or lifestyles that embody multiple health behaviors. We systematically reviewed the literature on public health brands; developed a methodology for describing branded health messages and campaigns; and examined specific branding strategies across a range of topic areas, campaigns, and global settings. We searched the literature for published studies on public health branding available through all relevant, major online publication databases. Public health branding was operationalized as any manuscripts in the health, social science, and business literature on branding or brands in health promotion marketing. We developed formalized decision rules and applied them in identifying articles for review. We initially identified 154 articles and reviewed a final set of 37, 10 from Africa, Australia, and Europe. Branded health campaigns spanned most of the major domains of public health and numerous communication strategies and evaluation methodologies. Most studies provided clear information on planning, development, and evaluation of the branding effort, while some provided minimal information. Branded health messages typically are theory based, and there is a body of evidence on their behavior change effectiveness, especially in nutrition, tobacco control, and HIV/AIDS. More rigorous research is needed, however, on how branded health messages impact specific populations and behaviors