Why Better Marketing Will Be Key To Australia’s COVID Vaccine Rollout

Why Better Marketing Will Be Key To Australia’s COVID Vaccine Rollout
SHARE
THIS



Simon Davies (pictured below) is founder and CEO of health marketing agency Bastion Brands. In this guest post, Davies says the success of Australia’s COVID vaccine response will be in how well it is marketed…

As the Australian Government refines its plan to roll out the COVID vaccine, it’s fair to say there’ll be relief expressed by frontline workers and those most vulnerable to the virus, but some scepticism from others.

The challenge is one of marketing, not science. While there will always be people on the fringe rejecting the science, it’s the undecided public in the middle we need to convince. And if the anti-vax movement attacks the science, it doesn’t matter how sound the facts are – the marketing has to win hearts and minds. In this, we can learn a lot from the mistakes of other campaigns around the world.

You can overdo the facts

Don’t let the facts get in the way of an emotional connection. This is not to encourage fabrication; the campaign still needs to have facts supporting it. However, governments around the world have struggled to persuade the hesitant public to accept the vaccine because communication is too fact-based.

At the core of vaccine hesitancy are perceptions about risk and safety: does the person feel they are at risk of catching COVID? Do they believe its impacts could be serious? And do they believe the vaccine is safe and effective?

Hesitancy is not due to lack of information; more information does not ensure a higher uptake. Underpinning hesitancy is a deep-rooted mistrust of vaccinations that has been planted there by social influence. If a whole bunch of people (for example, anti-vaxxers) have been vocal about their hesitancy, then people who are otherwise ‘neutral’ who have been exposed to that attitude are more likely to echo it. It means they feel the risk of catching COVID is low and/or the consequences are negligible compared to the risk presented by taking the vaccine.

In the US, one-third of Americans say they ‘probably or definitely’ would refuse the vaccine. The good news is that Australia has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world because vaccination is a social norm. For the vaccines to be effective to end the pandemic, vaccination rates need to exceed 70 per cent of the population, minimum. It is in everyone’s best interests that as many people are vaccinated as possible.

Counter fear with another emotion

Persuasion, for medical marketing, is about finding the sweet spot between science and emotion. Humans make decisions 90 per cent based on emotion, 10 per cent on logic, making emotion a critical component of effective communications. A campaign needs to be informative, but most importantly, it needs to stimulate an emotional response.

The key here is to acknowledge the fear and doubt that the public may be experiencing and counter that with another emotion. For example, the public is concerned about how quickly scientists have managed to deliver safe COVID-19 vaccinations in just 10 months. The fact is that a lot of resources were poured into research as a matter of urgency, more than many other projects usually attract over several years. But the facts aren’t interesting until they’re composed as a narrative. Storytelling around how the vaccines were developed, how they work, how healthcare professionals support them, and successful case studies are crucial to turn fear into confidence.

Right message, right messenger

The challenge with health messaging is that it needs to be consistent, but one size does not fit all. Tailoring communication to each audience is critical because each person’s vaccine journey is different based on their priority stage and level of motivation and will be received differently based on factors such as political affiliation, race, ethnicity, age and location.

Choosing the appropriate messenger is similarly important. The right influencers and opinion leaders are powerful, credible persuaders with defined audiences. For example, Lady Gaga would be a powerful influencer with certain groups, whereas Dr Norman Swan would serve a different audience. A recommendation from a healthcare professional is the strongest determinant of a vaccine’s acceptance. Healthcare professionals are the most critical influencers in vaccine confidence.

Key to bespoke messaging will be identifying the audience’s major concerns. Simply telling people “the science says it’s fine” or running a shame campaign is unlikely to prove a winning strategy. Instead, emphasise what can be gained from immunity.

Finally, make vaccination highly visible. Make sure it is distributed through high traffic areas, whether that’s a local pharmacy or a town hall. Some centres in the UK are using cathedrals. The key is for people to see other people getting vaccinated because social proof is a highly effective way to overcome the trust issue.

Misinformation is rife because it is persuasive, and by its nature it is immune to facts. Countering misinformation and uncertainty is a matter of more effective communication through better marketing. Attitudes and behaviours about vaccination are malleable, so let’s make sure we change them for the better.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Bastion Brands Simon Davies

Latest News

QMS’ Jemma Enright Talks The Company’s Plans For The City Of Sydney’s $300M Outdoor
  • Media

QMS’ Jemma Enright Talks The Company’s Plans For The City Of Sydney’s $300M Outdoor

Back in June 2020, QMS pulled off a major coup, snaring the City of Sydney’s outdoor assets away from rival JCDeceaux in a 10 year deal reported to be worth $300 million. COVID has made the changeover and erection of new street furniture challenging, but here B&T chats with Jemma Enright who joined the business […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Two Out Of Three Australian Crypto Enthusiasts Think Crypto Will Continue To Grow Against The Dollar
  • Technology

Two Out Of Three Australian Crypto Enthusiasts Think Crypto Will Continue To Grow Against The Dollar

According to a new study by Gemini, the meteoric rise and subsequent volatility of Bitcoin has many Aussies considering whether digital assets have a place in an investment portfolio, often comparing cryptocurrencies against more traditional asset classes, such as property. Now, as concerns grow over inflation and the economic slump – motivating many investors to look […]

Facebook Releases Campaign For Ray Ban Stories Smart Glasses
  • Technology

Facebook Releases Campaign For Ray Ban Stories Smart Glasses

Facebook has officially released the campaign for the succinctly named Ray-Ban Stories: First-Generation Smart Glasses. The Ray-Ban Stories are, according to Facebook’s official release, “smart glasses that give you a new way to capture photos and video, share your adventures and listen to music or take phone calls.” They are the product of a collab […]

Two M&C Saatchi Creatives Talk Making Art To Stay Fresh
  • Opinion

Two M&C Saatchi Creatives Talk Making Art To Stay Fresh

M&C Saatchi creatives Sam Rowlands and Jason Leigh talk about their personal creative pursuits, and how it informs their advertising. Then they decided that, as they hadn’t seen each other in a long time, they’d prefer to interview each other… Sam Rowlands — art director/painter/sculptor/fashion designer (as interviewed by Jason Leigh) Sam forgot about our […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Michael Speakman Joins Esports Organisation ORDER As Head Of Commercial
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Michael Speakman Joins Esports Organisation ORDER As Head Of Commercial

Esports organisation ORDER has announced the appointment of  Michael Speakman as its new Head of Commercial. As part of ORDER’s expansion, Speakman will help navigate new commercial opportunities by offering a creative space for brands to connect, level up and deliver partnerships across the gaming ecosystem. ORDER continues to sustain its rapid expansion by appointing a […]

Hivestack Expands US Footprint With Clear Channel Outdoor Partnership
  • Media

Hivestack Expands US Footprint With Clear Channel Outdoor Partnership

Hivestack, the leading global programmatic digital out of home (DOOH) ad tech company today announced a partnership with Clear Channel Outdoor Americas (CCOA), the US based business of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings: one of the world’s largest outdoor advertising companies. Through this new partnership, CCOA will offer advertisers a way to buy DOOH inventory programmatically […]

Samsung Announces Finalists For UNDSCVRD Tiktok Docu-Series
  • Campaigns
  • Technology

Samsung Announces Finalists For UNDSCVRD Tiktok Docu-Series

Samsung Electronics Australia has this week announced the lineup of five budding recording artists for its UNDSCVRD competition, a TikTok docu-style reality series aimed to bring the spotlight to the rising music talent in the country. The series, presented by Samsung Galaxy, brings together five musical talents from across the country who were hand-picked by […]

Indie Agency Kaimera Expands With New Hires
  • Marketing

Indie Agency Kaimera Expands With New Hires

Independent media agency Kaimera has recruited five new team members to manage its continued growth, following several new client wins including Britbox, Campos and Under Armour. Daniel Miller (pictured above) has joined from News Connect, where he was an associate programmatic trader, in the newly created role of platforms manager. In the role, he will […]

Nine’s Love Island Australia Gets Premiere Date
  • Media

Nine’s Love Island Australia Gets Premiere Date

The sexiest singles in the nation (according to Channel Nine, at least) are back on airwaves with Love Island Australia on Monday, October 4, at 9.00pm after The Block on Channel 9 and 9Now. Aussie sweetheart Sophie Monk will return to host (and play Cupid) alongside new addition, comedian Stephen Mullan a narrator, in the world-renowned reality TV […]

Yotpo Expands Down Under With  Multi-Year Shopify Partnership
  • Marketing

Yotpo Expands Down Under With Multi-Year Shopify Partnership

Yotpo is officially expanding into Australia, off the back of significant market growth with massive Aussie names, a landmark investment from Shopify and a plan to help local Aussie e-comm explode. Yotpo’s ANZ userbase includes names like Zoe Foster Blake’s $180M Go-To Skin Care,  e-commerce fashion queen Princess Polly, and billion-dollar streetwear brand Culture Kings, […]