Systematic review of health branding: growth of a promising practice

W. Douglas Evans, Jonathan Blitstein, Donna Vallone, Samantha Post, Wendy Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brands are marketing tools that create mental representations in the minds of consumers about products, services, and organizations. Brands create schema that help consumers decide whether to initiate or continue use of a product or service. Health branding determines behavioral choice by building consumer relationships and identification with health behaviors and their benefits. Health branding can be measured by the associations individuals form with health behaviors. In 2008, Evans and colleagues systematically reviewed the literature on health brands, reported on branded health messages and campaigns worldwide, and examined specific branding strategies in multiple subject areas. This paper extends that review. We replicated the comprehensive online literature search strategy from 2008. We screened a total of 311 articles and included 130 for full-text review. This included both articles from the 2008 review and new articles. After excluding those new articles that did not meet full-text inclusion criteria, we reviewed 69 in total. Of these, 32 were new articles since the 2008 review. Branded health campaigns cover most major domains of public health and appear worldwide. Since 2008, we observed improvement in evaluation, application of theory, and description of campaign strategies in published work. We recommend enhanced education of public health practitioners and researchers on the use and evaluation of branding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-36
Number of pages13
JournalTranslational Behavioral Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Branding
  • Public Health
  • Social Marketing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Applied Psychology


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