Late last year PR/Communications giant Edelman released a survey called the Health Engagement Pulse. (Here’s the press release and here are the charts) This is separate from both Edelman’s Trust Barometer which has looked at consumer engagement and trust in business and institutions for years, and their Health Engagement Barometer (HEB) which looked at engagement in health in five countries in 2008 and is going to be run again this spring. At Health 2.0 we;ve worked with Edelman and featured the HEB data in our meetings and will continue to do so. Recently I “chatted” with Edelman’s President for Health, Nancy Turett, to find out what she thinks the data is telling us about people’s attitudes towards “health”.
Matthew Holt: Nancy, Edelman’s been looking at Health for a long time and also Engagement with the well known Engagement Barometer separately. In late 2008 you did the first Health Engagement Barometer. What does Health Engagement mean, and why have you put the two concepts together now?
Nancy Turett: Over the past several years, our engagement in all things health has growth dramatically, giving us a particularly useful whole-egg look at health industry, issues, and especially the growing convergence of public and personal health imperative. With clients from all industries and sectors grappling with health — costs, social expectations, pressures to innovate, and policy changes underway — we’ve found it useful to all to provide insights about what the public-at-large — wearing their many health hats — knows, wants, cares about and does as relates to health. And as a communications and engagement firm, we’ve delved particularly deeply into how people are influenced and how they influence others.
The Health Engagement Barometer, which we created and conducted for the first time a year ago, shone a bright light on some key issues, and identifying a fascinating cohort of people who by dint of their engagement, involvement, and information about health, have high influence over the attitudes and actions of others. We called them the “Health Info-entials.” We also learned a lot about people’s interest in engaging with health brands and companies — and we found people crave more connection than they’re getting — and that transparency and completeness trumps perfection when it comes to building trust between a health-involved brand and a consumer.