Increasing Loyalty to Breastfeeding: Investigating a Product Development Strategy

Project dates: 2008 - 2009

The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) is a not-for-profit (NFP) organization which supports and promotes breastfeeding. To date, breastfeeding campaigns have adopted an education perspective with an emphasis on promoting the social idea (exclusive breastfeeding) by focusing on the benefits for the baby. Taking a new approach was critical as statistics indicated that such prior campaigns have had minimal impact.

ABA adopted a social marketing approach to address the barriers and challenges to breastfeeding experienced by women. Specifically, they implemented a product-based campaign to tangibilise the social idea and increase exclusive breastfeeding duration rates for women.

A mixed methods approach was used to develop and evaluate the social marketing campaign. Focus groups with first-time expectant mothers or new mothers were used to inform the idea generation, guide concept development and for concept testing. Survey research was then used to gather attitudinal and behavioural data.

The final product package consisted of a new product (photo frame magnet) in addition to the existing products of access to a 24-hour breastfeeding helpline number, Breastfeeding Confidence booklet, and a 12-month subscription to the ABA. The photo frame magnet was developed as a tangible object that women were likely to retain and use. The product package features addressed the psychological price of breastfeeding potentially perceived by mothers (including fear, lack of breastfeeding knowledge, and lack of confidence). The public hospital system (imaging department) was chosen as the specialty distribution (place) channel to reach the target group. The findings presented highlight the positive influence a product strategy can have on promoting a complex behavior, such as exclusive breastfeeding.

Other Team Members

  • Robyn Hamilton, Australian Breastfeeding Association