It’s always nice to see brand campaigns break, or to take a new brand to market. It’s possibly the go-to option for most marketing challenges faced, and it gives marketing professionals something to put on their CV as a demonstration of what they do for a day job. The proud presentation of optimal reach and frequency figures to superiors in the weekly business update meeting is, normally, the measurements by which we, as brand owners, are evaluated. When you move into the arena of health, the brand campaign is the starting point of something much deeper. Great GRPs (Gross Rating Points), OTS (Opportunity to See) and unmatched top-of mind recall simply aren’t enough. In this space, we need to take a closer look into what we are setting out to achieve, and to ask ourselves: Is this really going to create impact? What/who are we making an impact upon? and how do we measure that impact?”
Awareness has become the new buzzword for most health issue-related communication programs. We are often approached by organisations or initiatives with a cause, hoping that we will partner with them because they want to raise awareness. Vary rarely do these requests contain real and defined calls for action to rectify that health issue. We are faced with a number of these health issues in the region, not least the prevalence of type II diabetes, which, according to the International Diabetes Federation, stands at 18.9 per cent in the UAE population. A recent report by the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi also indicates that in the emirate a further 23 per cent are at risk of developing the condition.
The future is also looking pretty bleak. In a recent study by the UAE University published in June 2013, and conducted over 1,440 children and teenagers aged six to 19 years’ old, 14.2 per cent were found to be overweight and a further 19.8 per cent were obese. And it’s not purely the indigenous population that is at risk. Expatriates who have happily adopted the incredible lifestyle that the Middle East has to offer, have also adopted the lifestyle diseases that come as part and parcel of living in the region.
This information is not new. Brands have made us well aware that there are perils of adopting this hedonistic style of living, which can be detrimental in the long run to the quality of life. What is actually missing in communication programs surrounding health is the transition from the awareness stage to the action stage.
For us as a health insurer, one of the pillars of our brand is the future health of our community. In this regard, we believe in creating opportunities that enhance health, by providing platforms that mobilize communities in knowing their fitness, improving fitness levels and enjoying the moments that count as a result of being healthier. Our brand campaign that launched recently talks about the moments that come about because you are able to live life to the fullest when you are healthy. But there is a more serious underlying message that underpins that campaign; that is you need to be able to be inspired and make that transition to a healthier lifestyle in order to benefit from these amazing moments. The impact of this campaign cannot be measured in GRPs or OTS, but rather by individuals making a choice to lead a healthier lifestyle.
For example, outreach initiatives such the ActiveLife by Daman sponsorship of TrainYas gives the Abu Dhabi community the chance to increase its fitness levels by making facilities like Yas Marina Circuit available to families so they can run, walk or cycle 5.5 kilometers in an iconic setting. This initiative has seen exponential growth over the past two years, to the point that more than 3,000 people attend it each Tuesday night. The sponsorship of GoYas for ladies on a Wednesday night has grown to become a community of over 1,000 predominantly UAE National females, all looking to improve their fitness. Through the sponsorship program of other fitness events like The Walk, TriYas and Color RunTM, ActiveLife by Daman gives the community a set of targets at all capability levels – either walk five kilometres, run five kilometres or do an entry-level triathlon. Our brand ambassadors give the community the call to action to inspire and motivate them along this journey to fitness.
This model of creating awareness, make platforms available, setting targets, delivering a clear call to action and measuring the health benefits, is the model by which we move the health of the wider community. We have taken these principles and placed them at the heart of our proposition as an employer believing in three guiding principles: physical fitness, mental fitness and performance orientation. The belief that that a high-caliber employee carries the same value set and characteristics of a top athlete is a thread that runs through our organisation. However, Daman is a single organization that provides proof that this philosophy works, albeit on a limited scale. For this model to really be impactful we need more brands, organizations and entities who currently educate their communities in leading a healthy lifestyle, to build platforms, targets and inspire them to use them.