This was an excellent and well-thought-out campaign with exemplary execution. The communications teams at the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland have helped to address a major health issue – the prevalence of diabetes amongst South Asian communities. From the outset, they developed specific, quantifiable objectives and executed a culturally relevant campaign to affect behaviour change amongst this community. Using research and insight, they developed a campaign that met the needs of their target audience creatively and from a channel perspective. They also ensured the campaign execution was fully integrated – using the right communications and PR tactics to achieve their objectives. They also ensured the content was well informed, not only by their audience but by expert dietitians who understood their audience.

Mark of Excellence:

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Winner entry:

Brief, objectives and budget:

In Leicester, there is an above- average prevalence of diabetes. This is the result of a higher proportion of BAME residents, a population that is six times more likely to develop the condition than people in general.

Your Healthy Kitchen was developed to give people specific, culturally-relevant advice about how to eat more healthily.

Patients who have diabetes are able to attend education courses to help them live with the condition. For those who don’t yet have diabetes, such a course would be too onerous. The campaign fits below structured services to help people reduce their own risk of developing diabetes and other conditions.

Quantifiable objectives were set to educate 2.5% of the local South Asian population how to cook healthier meals (2,626) and for 25% of those to have acted on that information.

A budget of £60,000 was allocated to the project.

The idea, research and planning:

The campaign was informed by our own research into diabetes awareness among several BAME communities and how to change their behaviour to reduce their risk of developing diabetes. The research revealed that people did not understand generic guidance about healthy eating. They wanted specific instructions about how to cook healthily. The South Asian community was selected as it is the largest BAME community in Leicester.

It was agreed to launch the campaign immediately after Diwali on 4th November 2019, to capitalise on people’s desire to eat better following an indulgent festive period.

The campaign was planned to get maximum benefit from integrating paid, earned, shared and owned channels, while considering which channels would be most relevant for the message to the target audience and how the campaign would be evaluated.

We wanted people to be shown how to cook differently. Online videos were selected as the main mechanism to achieve this, supported by live demonstrations. This would also help to overcome language barriers and improve measurability.

To raise awareness, channels were targeted at the South Asian community, for example by using community radio stations, demographically-targeted paid social media and using relevant influencers. Channel suggestions were also made by research participants.

Strategy, creativity and innovation:

A distinct visual identity was developed, with a key theme being traditional food with a healthy twist. It was deliberately did not mention the South Asian community to allow extension to other communities or cuisines in the future.

Although the campaign was developed in response to diabetes prevalence, the advice would benefit a number of health conditions. The term ‘diabetes friendly’ was used to reflect this.

We wanted to directly address some of the insight obtained during the research phase.

One example was how the community use cooking to show they care. The campaign addressed this in its messaging by demonstrating how people are still showing their love by helping people to live healthier lives.

The NHS is a trusted brand, particularly in this community. It was important to focus group participants that advice was given by a trusted health professional. The Communications Team worked with a local NHS dietitian from the community to develop a series of five recipes, which were tested with local diabetes groups before production.

To ensure that the campaign changed people’s behaviours, a range of healthy tips were incorporated so people could see how they could make small changes to their meals to make them healthier.

Delivery/implementation of tactics:

Five recipe videos were produced that showed people how to cook traditional foods with a healthy twist. The videos were 2 to 3 minutes long and could be watched without sound.

The dietitian presenter spoke in English but occasionally used Gujarati words. This meant that translation wasn’t required.

The videos were hosted on Youtube and the website. A unique url was created to make it easier for people to engage with the campaign. Each web page was optimised for search engines.

A recipe booklet was produced, for those who prefer a more traditional approach. It was distributed into the community, but could also be downloaded online. People could also read the recipes in a different language using a built-in translate feature on the website and receive language assistance via a local helpline. This meant that it wasn’t necessary to translate the booklet.

Regular media coverage was secured throughout the campaign, including a number of opportunities where demonstrations of the recipes could take place. This proved to be effective in directing people to the website.

The full versions of the videos were promoted using paid advertising on Youtube. Shorter versions of the recipe videos were created to raise awareness via paid Facebook advertising, in a more suitable way for that audience. This was backed-up by posts on owned social media channels which received above-average engagement. The campaign was also promoted using advertising on several community radio stations.

Local influencers helped to promote the campaign in the community. These included health professionals and community groups.

Measurement, evaluation and impact:

The campaign was measured qualitatively and quantitatively both during and after the campaign.

It surpassed the target numbers of people that it set out to educate by 315%, educating a minimum of 10,885 how to more healthily, against a target of 2,626. At least 15,661 were made aware of the campaign.

The campaign was positively received and received good engagement. This was measured using a survey on the website. 92% of respondents thought the campaign was ‘good’ or ‘very good’ and an average of 86% ‘liked’ the individual recipes or ‘liked them a lot’. An average of 75% were ‘very likely’ or ‘likely’ to cook the recipes in the future.

Together these facts indicate that a higher proportion than planned had acted on the campaign by trying the recipes and demonstrated a future intention to change behaviour.

Many suggestions were made for further recipes that they would like to see in the future and requests for different types of cuisines demonstrating that there is public support for the campaign.

The campaign results help demonstrate how a well-researched campaign has value in educating people to improve their own health, supporting what is offered by formal health services. It provides a benchmark to inform future campaign plans.