Every Body Walk! engaged in a national collaborative process to develop an engaging consumer message that would motivate more people to walk. We identified audience priorities based on the need for them to walk more because of health disparities, as well as the need for more information to be directed at these particular audiences. The audiences indentified as priority include low-income White, low-income Latino, low-income Black and people ages 60+.
In our testing we found that while people already know that walking is good for them, that was not motivation enough to get moving. But when some learned about the opportunity to build stronger relationships and human connections by walking with others, they became genuinely interested. Others with whom we spoke said that they were compelled to walk for health reasons, such as a doctor telling them to walk to reduce disease; they maintained their walking regimens because they liked walking with people, meeting neighbors and connecting to their surroundings.
It is our assessment that the message selected will also work with other audiences, and in this toolkit we have offered you some examples of how to shape the messages to suit your specific needs. The toolkit can also be downloaded here. We recommend you view the related webinar here for more information and instruction.
We hope you will use it to develop your own elevator pitches and messages. Please email us at messages[at]americawalks[dot]org with examples on how you use the communications frame toolkit.
We have identified several recommendations for message use as follows:
- Based on high level of resonance with the “human connections” (formerly called friends and family), adopt it as the core consumer theme for Every Body Walk!
- Make the key message dominant across all consumer communications.
- Be open to layering on elements of message that tested well with audiences: patriotism, cost savings and social justice, as exemplified in the tools we have prepared.
- Be prepared to make adjustments to messages if your audience has different demographics. For example if you are working with people 60+, consider talking more about “walking with friends and family” as opposed to “walking with children.”
- Look beyond the message itself and work to tell story; use specific examples.
- Given the limited scope of research completed, consider testing these in real life with your audiences and reporting back findings to Every Body Walk! for consideration and potential adjustments.
- Build a shared library of images that represent the theme of human connections. Consider a photo sharing competition on social media that invites people to post pictures of themselves building connections through walking.
- Consider building additional resources into a “Walk More, Connect More” values-based awareness building campaign.
The Main Message: Walk More. Connect More.
We all know that walking is one of the best ways to stay healthy. It’s also one of the best ways to connect with others. There never seems to be enough time to enjoy friends and family. By walking with them, we get to catch up and refresh our minds, and the physical benefits add up, too. Invite a friend or your partner for an after-dinner walk, take care of weekend errands with your family on foot, or invite neighbors to start a casual walking group. Along the way you’ll build strong bonds and memories. Walk more. Connect more.
The Main Message: Understanding the Pieces
Now let us explain the anatomy of the “Walk More. Connect More” message so that you can understand its construction, as well as how you can modify the message for your audiences.
The message is broken into several parts below to help you understand the construct. The message would be used as a single piece of copy in communication, and there is opportunity to enhance it with additional copy points that tested well as sub messages.
- The “Given” Message: This lead-in sentence acknowledges that people already know this information, which keep them listening to the additional points.We all know that walking is one of the best ways to stay healthy.
- The “New Idea” Message: This message is the core of what we learned from the research: People benefit most from the connection that make when they walk.It’s also one of the best ways to connect with others.
- The “Challenge and Solution” Message: This message presents the challenge people face finding time and offers walking as a solution.
There never seems to be enough time to enjoy friends and family. By walking with them, we get to catch up and refresh our minds, and the physical benefits add up, too.
- The “Add-On” Message(s): This message, which is optional, may fit into the message that works best for your community. The message points below all received positive feedback and resonance when tested.
- STRONG COMMUNITY ADD-ON OPTION: When people walk communities become stronger. We meet neighbors, make new discoveries, and connect to things we care about like history and nature.
- HEALTHY COMMUNITY ADD-ON OPTION: When people walk, the whole community is healthier. Walking is a great way to stay healthy, and with fewer cars on the streets, we get cleaner air to breathe and water to drink.
- COST SAVINGS ADD-ON OPTION: Walking saves a lot of money. When people walk more, they pay less for transportation and save time stuck in traffic. Our health improves because we’re more active, keeping us out of the doctor’s office.
- The “Here’s How” Message: This message gives people ideas about how to bring walking into their lives—and build connections. Invite a friend or your partner on an after-dinner walk, take care of weekend errands with your family on foot, or invite neighbors to start a casual walking group.
The Here’s How Customization Option: You can also craft a specific message for your audience such as: walk your kids to school, walk with a friend during your lunch break, have a walking meeting, or make walking your “happy hour” or anything else you think will work well.
- Closing Message: The closing message reinforces the core message and offers room for customization. Along the way you’ll build strong bonds and memories (CUSTOMIZATION OPPORTUNITY): … plus you’ll strengthen your community, etc.
- Values-based Call to Action message: This is a final call to action.Walk more. Connect more.
Example: Main message customized for families with children
We all know that walking is one of the best ways to stay healthy. It’s also one of the best ways to connect with others. There never seems to be enough time to enjoy with our children. By walking with them, we get to catch up and refresh our minds, and the physical benefits add up, too. Gather up the kids and run errands on foot, walk to school sometimes, and turn your walk into a nature or history exploration. Along the way you’ll build strong bonds and memories with your kids. Walk more. Connect more.