Learn more about how we created a community brand on St Helena to reduce obesity and tobacco use on this remote South Atlantic island.

The Challenge

Health statistics indicate that more than 20% of the population of the island are diabetics, 70% are overweight or obese and the smoking rate amongst adults is around 25%. The NSMC were commissioned to develop a community brand to tackle these challenges as well as contribute to the development of a Health Promotion Strategic Framework. This approach involved working with the local communities as partners, so spurring action by the community, for that community.

What We Did

Formative Research

To support the development of the brand and the behaviour change activities, formative research was conducted with representatives from the local population as well as key stakeholders. The reserach explored the islanders' knowledge of health issues and identified their barriers to adopting a healther lifestyle. After the research had been conducted and analysed several interventions and brand ideas emerged. These were then presented at eight co-production workshops with nearly one hundred local residents. Residents then supported the research team to define and develop the ideas further. 

Brand Development

Based on the research, a community-focused brand was developed and used as an umbrella brand for the strategic framework and behaviour change activities. The brand was launched first in mid-2018 with all the other strategies coming under the brand and supporting the behaviour change messages. The brand name selected was 'Saints Together'. The brand was positioned to give residents the freedom to make small changes to support their health and enjoy island life. The messages was that everyone on the island was making changes - Government, businesses and the local community. 




Campaign Interventions

All the branded material used testimonial style wording from islanders speaking directly about how they had benefitted from making changes to their health. These stories featured on local media, including press, radio and social media. Other interventions were also introduced, including working with importing retailers to improve the supply of healthier drinks options, while 'nudge marketing' was used to encourage islanders to make healthier food swaps. Government employees were give 30 minutes of 'activity time' per week and smoking cessation support was provided. 





What We Achieved

The Saints Together branding was employed to support the full range of strategies in the Health Promotion Strategic Framework during 2018–2019. Evaluation of the framework using population survey data indicated that, between April 2018 and May 2019, risk factors related to overweight and smoking had moved in a positive direction. The social marketing approach was an embedded aspect of the wider Health Promotion Strategic Framework, and it is difficult to disentangle the role of the branding and marketing from the strategies to make the environment more supportive of healthier behaviours.

Nonetheless, in the 2019 survey, 72% of respondents said they were aware of the Saints Together campaign, indicating strong brand visibility and awareness among respondents. Of those who were aware, the majority (59%) believed that the campaign had helped to increase community awareness regarding health.