‘You Said, We Did’ – Feedback from message testing on high blood pressure awareness campaign


The Integrated Care System (ICS) partners (NHS Somerset, Somerset Council and Spark Somerset) are currently involved in working collaboratively on our “Take the Pressure Off” campaign, an initiative dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of regular blood pressure monitoring. In Somerset, we believe in taking proactive steps towards a healthier community, and this campaign is at the heart of that belief.

In February 2024, we invited males in Somerset, including those that identify as male, to complete an online survey, to test different communications messages and evaluate the likely motivating factors to influence behaviour change. The online survey included a series of different messages displayed on posters, and was shared as targeted adverts on social media, through our engagement networks and in our system newsletters.

A ‘face to face’ session was also held over Teams with five male staff from Somerset Council (aged 40-65).  The group gave valuable insight into motivating factors for encouraging our target audience to get their blood pressure checked, including what would and wouldn’t resonate with them in terms of campaign messaging.

We were pleased with the number of people who took the time to complete our survey and attend the focus group and we would like to thank everyone who contributed their experiences and views. It helps us to be able to meaningfully shape the campaign to better engage the communities we are trying to reach.

You Said:

The survey and focus group has given us important and useful feedback that we are currently using to adapt our communications activity and messaging as part of our ‘Take the Pressure Off’ campaign. We have also used the feedback to inform our engagement plans for a series of testing events across the county, taking peoples’ blood pressure and providing advice about next steps.

Below are some key findings and our subsequent actions:

  • The motivational aspect of the proposed message needed strengthening. Respondents wanted clearer information on the immediate risks associated with high blood pressure and how it directly impacts their health.
  • Respondents shared that there was a need for more explicit guidance on where and how to get blood pressure checks, noting that traditional settings like GP surgeries or pharmacies might not be the most accessible or preferred locations.
  • Many men expressed a desire for testing to be available in more convenient locations, such as workplaces or community settings, where they are more likely to spend time.
  • Respondents showed an interest in learning about the immediate risks of unmanaged high blood pressure and expressed a preference for messages that convey direct, significant health statistics.

We Did:

Enhanced motivation through direct messaging:

In response to feedback, we have revised our campaign posters and materials to include clear, impactful statistics about the immediate risks of high blood pressure. This new messaging steers away from analogies and aims to make the health threat of high blood pressure more tangible and urgent, increasing motivation to seek out blood pressure checks.

Expanded accessibility of blood pressure checks:

Acknowledging the preference for convenience and immediate access, we are partnering with various community settings and employers, especially those with a significant male demographic, to offer onsite blood pressure checks. This should help to remove barriers to access and encourage more men to take this critical health step.

Communicating efficiency and ease

We’ve updated our communications to highlight that blood pressure checks are quick, taking less than one minute, to address any concerns about time and ‘hassle’. This change aims to dismantle perceptions of inconvenience, emphasising that checking your blood pressure is a simple, yet vital action.

Collaborative message development

To ensure our messages resonate and effectively drive behaviour change, we commit to ongoing collaboration with men from various demographics to refine and test our messaging. We will continue to seek people & communities’ input to enhance the impact of our hypertension awareness campaign.

Our ongoing goal is to increase the number of men getting regular blood pressure checks. We will continue to monitor engagement with our new campaign materials and partnerships and evaluate the increase in blood pressure screenings within our targeted demographics.

We value your feedback and see it as a crucial component of our campaign’s success. We will establish mechanisms for continuous feedback collection and adjustment to our strategies based on your insights and experiences.

If you would like to share your thoughts and experiences related to blood pressure, please do not hesitate to contact Olivia Grant at NHS Somerset by email olivia.grant8@nhs.net.