But these plans may not stick; this is where behavioural science comes in. 

Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K), one of Canada’s leading public relations and public affairs firms, has released findings from their national survey into how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting Canadians. The H+K survey found, in part, that many Canadians are seeing the post-pandemic period as an opportunity to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the importance of both physical and mental health to the forefront,” said Michelle McLean, National Health + Wellness Sector Lead at H+K. “There is an opportunity for both public sector organizations and private sector businesses focused on wellness to capitalize on these trends whether it’s related to physical exercise, mental health, self-care, or nutrition.”

The survey took place the first week of May as various provinces began to unveil their plans to re-open following weeks of pandemic lockdowns. Notable findings include:

  • 26% of respondents said they plan to eat healthier after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted – with 41% of respondents aged 18-24 indicating that was their intention.
  • 34% of respondents who use virtual health care, said they plan to use virtual health care, such as telehealth, more frequently after COVID restrictions are lifted – with 44% of respondents aged 25-34 planning to do so.
  • 31% of respondents said they plan to exercise more frequently after COVID restrictions are lifted – with 57% of respondents aged 18-24 saying that was their intention.

“As with New Year’s resolutions, good intentions to change behaviour often fall short of action,” cautioned Lilly Kofler, Vice President of Behavioural Science at H+K. “Businesses and governments need to deploy evidence-based communications grounded in best practices in behaviour change to truly support people on their wellness journey.”

People often behave in ways which seem surprising or irrational; consumers don’t always switch to the better, cheaper product and most of us don’t save, exercise or eat healthfully as we should. Insights from psychology, behavioural economics and neuroscience reveal that most human behaviour is driven by automatic, instinctive and intuitive thought processes. Behavioural science helps us understand how people make these instinctive decisions and provides evidence for how to change behaviour to better help people reach their goals.

That is why H+K has a team of behavioural scientists dedicated to strengthening public communications and messaging to ensure it leads to action and ultimately, healthier living.


About Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada:

Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada (H+K) is a public relations and public affairs consultancy providing services to local, multinational, and global clients from its eight offices across the country.

The firm works with clients to solve complex communications challenges and deliver award winning campaigns and is focused on continued innovation for the industry. H+K offers deep sector knowledge and breadth of public relations and public affairs expertise including specialists in health + wellness, technology, government + public sector, energy + industrials, consumer packaged goods, financial + professional services, food + drink, retail + leisure and sports.

Globally, Hill+Knowlton Strategies Inc., has offices in more than 40 countries as well as an extensive associate network; and it is a member of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), one of the world’s largest communications services groups.

About the Study:

Research experts at H+K authored this research (design through reporting). The sample was provided by Leger Opinion (LEO) online panel, however, H+K fielded the survey on their feedback platform, Perspectives+. In total, n=994 Canadians were surveyed over the period of May 1st to 4th, 2020.

Sampling was done within age, gender, and region quotas. Data were weighted on age, gender, and region according to 2016 census figures. An associated margin of error for a randomly selected sample of this size would be ±3.1%, 19 times out of 20.