5 Years In: How H2M Continues to Engage Rural Healthcare Consumers with Annual Community Challenge
Five years ago, H2M partnered with Lake Region Healthcare (LRH), a regional health system serving Fergus Falls, MN, and surrounding communities, to rebrand the organization. LRH was expanding its mission to focus on wellness and preventative care, and it wanted to not only showcase its services and expertise, but also to inspire the entire region to get involved in their own health and wellbeing.
Now, five years in, LRH’s “Community Health Challenge” has become an annual point of pride, rallying 60,000+ rural residents together around a common goal of physical fitness during the cold winter months. As H2M and LRH watched participation levels grow year after year — even as the challenges themselves continued to grow bigger and more demanding — the question became, How do we keep the momentum going and expand LRH’s mission of community wellness even further?
“We’ve gotten really good at moving during the winter months as a community,” said LRH Wellness Director, Natalie Knutson. “Last winter we exercised the 238,900 miles to the moon, actually surpassing it by about 19,000 miles, which was just fabulous.”
The first four years of the Community Health Challenge all focused on physical fitness. This year, for the 5th annual challenge, H2M and LRH teamed up to completely reimagine the challenge, expanding its scope to include eight different dimensions of wellness — Environmental, Social, Intellectual, Spiritual, Occupational, Emotional, Physical, and Nutritional health.
Wheel of Wellness
“We talk a lot about all the dimensions of total health and how overall health is so much more than spending time exercising and watching what you eat,” Knutson said. “So we got creative and decided to try challenging people to complete activities in every component of wellness.”
With help from H2M’s creative team, the “Wheel of Wellness” challenge kicked off on January 8, 2018. The wheel concept communicates the goal of being well-rounded in one’s health and the pursuit of that challenge on a regular, on-going basis.
“So people who like to log their mileage running or swimming or walking like previous years can earn points in the challenge doing those things,” Knutson said. “But they can also earn points by doing things like reading a book, taking time to meditate, working on drinking more water or getting more sleep, conserving electricity or even recycling.”
Daring to Break the Mold of Success
Any good Midwesterner worth his weight in meat and potatoes will know the mantra “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” As marketers, however, H2M and the team at LRH knows you can’t rely on past success — even if it ain’t broke, you still need to evolve in order to stay relevant. So, despite four years of impressive results, the annual Community Health Challenge needed to challenge itself to forego even the hint of stagnation.
“The H2M team enjoys working with LRH on the Community Health Challenge because each year is different in regards to the end goal, the theme and the overall marketing strategy,” said James Botnen, H2M’s Client Services Director. “But until 2018, each year was focused solely on the physical component of health, so this year with our focus on all the different components of overall wellness was as big a change as we’ve introduced since kicking this whole thing off five years ago.”
H2M wanted to present LRH with more than just a catchy theme focused on travel as in years past. During brainstorming sessions, H2M’s creative team developed the idea that the eight dimensions of wellness, if embraced, would lead to a healthy, well-rounded individual that not only cared for himself, but for his community as well. The Wheel of Wellness was born from this concept of inspiring well-rounded, healthy members of the community.
“One of the biggest hurdles we faced was developing a messaging and branding strategy that communicated the fact that this challenge was totally different than the last four,” Botnen said. “We knew even past participants would have questions, so our strategy included written FAQs that got sent out, video tutorials on the eight dimensions of wellness, email blasts and updates to our landing pages. More or less, we did a total rebrand of the Community Health Challenge to celebrate its fifth year.”
To celebrate another community-wide success, LRH hosted the 2018 Community Health Expo to honor the 700 participants — 25% of whom were first-timers — who came together to log over 100,000 points (beating the goal) and the individual top performers throughout the challenge. The expo was highlighted by a keynote presentation from motivational speaker, Mark J. Lindquist, additional prizes and an overview of the real-life changes participants experienced in the eight dimensions of wellness.
A few highlights…
● Overall health and wellness rating — Up 55%
● Feeling calm and peaceful — Up 76%
● Set time aside for spiritual growth — Up 72%
● Engaged in intellectually stimulating activities — Up 64%
● Ate 3+ servings of fruits & veggies — Up 35%
“The community rallied to meet this challenge just like they have in past years, tallying up a combined total of just over the 100,000 point goal” Knutson said. “Initial feedback indicates they liked the concept of a well-rounded approach to health and getting practical information from subject matter experts each week of the challenge,” she added.
While it’s good to take time to celebrate the success of the 5th Annual Community Health Challenge, we’re also looking forward to teaming up again with LRH to plan for next year.