VicHealth understands that clear and considered messaging is important for health promotion. When an inconsistent approach to messaging is used by health promotion advocates, this can undermine our ability to present a clear and compelling case for evidence-based action.
VicHealth has undertaken work with Common Cause Australia, to assist in creating helpful and effective messaging for a variety of health promotion themes. We are using an approach called ‘values-based framing’. Based on decades of research from the fields of social psychology and cognitive linguistics, this approach to messaging involves engaging people’s deeply-held values to motivate concern and action. It’s an approach that has been used extensively in environmental protection and climate change advocacy to build engagement and support for action.
This work has so far identified variety of messages and frames that health promotion advocates, opponents and the public are using to communicate about alcohol policy change, health promotion and healthy eating. Many of these messages and frames are useful, but some are counter-productive to our long-term work. Based on this analysis, values-based message frames have been developed and tested to identify which frames are most effective in building, rather than undermining, stronger public support for these issues.