Public Health Wales: Personas for more effective health communication

Public Health Wales needed to explore ways social media can be most effectively used to communicate vital health messaging. They had seen a huge increase in the number of people following them on social media during the Covid-19 pandemic and wanted to better understand their audience to create impactful campaigns and useful content.


We ran a comprehensive mixed-methods research project, with an emphasis on collaboration. We explored effective ways to use social media to meet users' needs, how effectively the organisation was reaching the target audience, and how channels could be used to support the organisation’s wider objectives. We reviewed social channels, conducted qualitative and quantitative research into user behavior, ran workshops, and co-created a set of personas to inform future strategy.


Useful insight the work uncovered included:

  • An interest in public health often comes from personal challenges, with almost half of survey respondents reporting having a chronic health condition or disability. Interviews also revealed personal or family health issues such as supporting an aging relative, young people's mental health, or more impacting conditions like MS.
  • Many of Public Health Wales' followers work in care. Many of their followers are women who often take on a carer role within their families.
  • Mental health emerged as a top concern throughout the research, with participants indicating an awareness of their own mental health or others' struggles. They look to Public Health Wales to lead the way in addressing this crisis.


We worked closely with the Public Health Wales to design a set of personas to help them produce focused and targeted communication. The personas articulated the needs of different groups and how different types of communication and content would be most effective. 

We delivered the personas digitally and as physical posters so they could be displayed on a wall to trigger conversation and encourage use. To help embed the personas we also produced an audience toolkit with practical tips and advice on effective use.

Public Health Wales is using the research to inform its communication strategy for the coming year. Danny Donovan, digital communications manager, said:

“It’s critical for us to be able to communicate vital public health messages to our audiences on social media. This research is supporting our understanding of who our key audiences are, what they need, providing us with insight into how effectively we are reaching that audience, and helping us to use each channel to deliver real value.

“The best thing about working with Mace & Menter is their deep research capability and meticulous project management. The team quickly formed a good understanding of the brief, our situation and audiences. The project moved seamlessly through the phases from ideation to delivery of personas.

“I valued their approach to packaging up the insights into something useful. It is now easy to apply the personas to our content development and evaluation processes because the presentation of the personas is clear and easy to understand."