Wellness Campaigns Pay Strong PR Dividends

To date, news coverage on healthcare reform has focused disproportionately on payment models: should we have a Public plan?  Private plans? Insurance cooperatives? Which model will offer consumers the most choice? Which will be the most cost-effective?

Getting the payment model right is important, of course. But equally important is helping consumers make smart wellness decisions throughout their lives. Studies show that simple prevention and screening programs are the most cost-effective way to keep patients healthy and productive. And, early detection allows the widest possible range of treatment choices.

A Smart PR Platform

Because of this, wellness and prevention have become key public relations platforms for organizations in and around healthcare. By providing information, advice and decision-support tools on healthy living, these companies generate loyalty from consumers, doctors, employers, payors and policymakers alike. They also generate trust and humanize the brand.

A good example is GE Healthcare. The unit’s former leader, Joe Hogan (who left GE earlier this year to become chief executive of the $29 billion Swiss-based ABB Ltd.) was the primary spokesperson for an e-health and wellness campaign, which included a blog, book, videos, bylined articles and speaking platforms. For many years, GE Healthcare earned a “wellness dividend” from this campaign, closing huge hospital equipment deals in the US and Europe.

Strong PR Dividends

With Hogan’s departure, the campaign lost momentum, leaving the door open for a new cadre of spokespeople. A number of companies in a wide range of industries – including financial services (MetLife) and consumer goods (J&J) – have taken up the mantle.  In May, GE reinvigorated its commitment to wellness with the launch of its Healthy Imagination campaign.

At a time when healthcare is dominating the headlines (and public mind-share), wellness is an issue that pays high PR dividends.

What steps has your company taken to improve public (and/or employee) health? Are there ways to publicize your commitment – and earn a wellness dividend in the process?

(Photo by Y)

To reach Meg:
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