Communication in the media regarding a potential avian influenza epidemic can serve to accurately and effectively inform the public OR misinform and contribute to unnecessary public panic and subsequent undesirable responses. Governments have time to develop communication strategies and specific messages that can effectively convey desired information at different stages of the anticipated pandemic. Effective social marketing incorporates the concepts of formative research, audience segmentation, and consumer focus. Based on the findings from earlier research on public awareness and understanding of bird flu, the collaborators of the project developed evidence-based advertising messages for two primary time-points in pandemic preparation and tested in a series of focus groups; modified them based on the findings; and then re-tested the final campaign. These findings provide important recommendations for the development of future social marketing campaigns in the event of pandemics or other public health crises.
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Jones, S. C., Waters, L., Holland, O., Bevins, J. & Iverson, D. C. (2010). Developing pandemic communication strategies: Preparation without panic. Journal of Business Research, 63 (2), 126-132.