Frequently Asked Questions

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The Fundamentals

  • What is a demand creation campaign?

    A demand creation campaign informs people about why they need a new product or service. Done well, the campaign will connect with target audiences emotionally so that they are receptive to learning more. A demand creation campaign may be a component of a larger social and behavior change communications (SBCC) effort.

  • What is a demand creation campaign strategy?

    A demand creation campaign strategy is a framework that sets the campaign objectives, target audiences and messages so that all campaign activities, products and materials work in harmony to achieve the desired change. With an agreed-upon campaign strategy, staff and partners have a map they can refer to throughout the various campaign development stages.

  • How do I adapt a sample campaign strategy to my local context?

    Any communications campaign must respond to the local context and target audience to be effective. Reaching people in a specific setting, and through different channels, requires adaptation.

    If you’re looking for guidance on how to conduct or supplement your own local research, the Demand Creation 101 section can help you. Start here.

    If, however, you have already conducted formative research to inform the essential elements of the strategy, you’re ready to begin your strategy development.

    Should you have any questions as you progress, or about anything you read on the Demand Creation 1o1 section please contact us:

  • What if my demand creation campaign needs to reach more than one audience?

    If more than one audience will see the same campaign materials (in other words, the same audiences will consume the same pieces of media), the best practice is to create one strategy, and therefore one campaign, that communicates to all audiences simultaneously. The goal in this case is to identify a key insight or barrier that is relevant to all of your target audiences. If you’re using a common insight to craft a single strategic idea about PrEP, the campaign will logically communicate in a way that is meaningful and relevant to all audiences. What remains important is that the strategic idea is focused enough that it communicates one idea, and that it is rich and flexible enough to be used across various channels (print, website, SMS etc.).

    Let’s expand on this with an example.

    You’re tasked with creating demand for PrEP amongst female sex workers and adolescent girls and young women in a specific community. In order to communicate to both groups with the same media, you need to identify an insightful barrier to PrEP uptake (i.e. problem statement) that is relevant for both audiences.

    Both groups are more likely to trust a recommendation about a way to prevent HIV if it comes from someone they know and trust (peer or women within their community). However, a problem that is stopping both groups of women from asking about PrEP is the fact that they don’t know someone who has tried PrEP and so are less willing to find out if it’s right for them.

    This common insight, or barrier to PrEP, may be fertile ground for developing a strategic idea, and therefore a strategy, that will guide campaign development for both audiences.

    It’s important to remember that the more target populations you are reaching with a single campaign, the greater the reach your channels should have. In other words, the more people should see your campaign message.

    Your decision of how to target different audiences with the same campaign should be based on your communication objectives, the number of audiences being targeted and the best channels that can reach those audiences. Channels that generally have a greater reach are print, TV, billboards and online/digital content. Examples of channels that have less reach include printed educational materials, community radio and community events.


  • What is the most effective way to use the PrEP Communications Accelerator?

    Depending on where you are in the process of developing demand creation communications, here are a few ways that the PrEP Communications Accelerator is commonly used.

    Scenario 1 – Starting from the Beginning

    If you’re just getting started with planning PrEP campaign development, visit the Fast Tracker. Go to the fast tracker page and select your audience and setting. From here, you’ll receive a campaign strategy output. With your strategy in hand, visit the Demand Creation 101 section for supplemental guidance on localizing (adapting to the local context) and validating your PrEP campaign strategy.

    Scenario 2 – Reference for Existing Content

    If you already have a PrEP campaign strategy, or campaign development is underway, consider using the PrEP Communications Accelerator resources to support and supplement the planning and management of your PrEP demand creation efforts and existing materials. For example, you can reference the Audience Profiles section to better understand nuances unique to your audience and other factors that help shape your PrEP communications. Audience Profiles can help give ideas on how best to reach your target audience using different channels or settings, or use the Fast Tracker to inform and build upon an existing strategy. 

    Scenario 3 – General Reference for Demand Creation Efforts

    Whether your demand creation campaign is focused on PrEP or another public or global health initiative, the Demand Creation 101 section serves as a comprehensive overview for developing demand creation campaigns, providing useful guidance, templates, and tools that can be applied throughout each phase of the demand creation campaign development process.

  • What target populations or audiences does the PrEP Communications Accelerator cover?

    The content is centered around five target audiences who are most at risk for HIV in sub-Saharan Africa: adolescent girls and young women, female sex workers, serodiscordant couples, men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs. Each of these audiences can be explored more deeply within the Audience Profiles section.

  • My PrEP communications campaign includes audiences not covered by the PrEP Communications Accelerator. Does that mean it will not be useful for me?

    No, not at all. The PrEP Communications Accelerator has been designed to help anyone who needs to develop a PrEP demand creation campaign strategy regardless of who the campaign targets. The sample communications strategies available in the Communications Fast Tracker can still illustrate the essential elements of strategy and the Demand Creation 101 section can provide guidance during each phase of campaign development regardless of the audience you are targeting for PrEP use.


  • I’ve used the Communications Fast Tracker and have generated or downloaded a sample campaign strategy for my audience. Now what?

    With your sample campaign strategy in hand, the next step will be to use local research and insights to confirm or modify the essential components of the strategy. It is critical that any demand creation campaign is responsive to the local context and target audience to be effective.

    If you’re looking for guidance on how to conduct or supplement your own local research, the Demand Creation 101 section can help you. Start here.

    If however you’ve already conducted formative research that can input into essential elements of the strategy, you’re ready to begin your Strategy Development.

    Should you have any questions as you progress, please contact us:

  • Can I take the language from a sample campaign strategy generated from the Communications Fast Tracker and use it in communication materials?

    A demand creation campaign strategy is a framework that sets the campaign objectives, target audiences and messages so that all communication activities, products and materials work in harmony to achieve the desired change. However, using language that appears in the strategy directly in campaign materials is not recommended.  Best practice requires that you validate each and every part of that strategy within your local context and with the audience(s) you’re communicating to, to ensure that your campaign has a chance of being effective. The benefit of doing this is that you can also learn the language that your audience uses in this context, and use that in your campaign materials to aid relevance and relatability which are important motivators for people to engage with the campaign messages.

    All strategies contained within the Communication Fast Tracker were qualitatively validated with NGOs and PrEP end-users, but by definition they are clear, actionable sample approaches to creatively solving a marketing problem. The rule of thumb here is that the language contained in a strategy should not appear in any communication materials unless they have gone through the process of creative development and, ideally creative testing with target audiences, first. The Demand Creation 101 speaks to this more fully.

  • I have drafted a demand creation campaign strategy appropriate for my local context. Now what?

    Now that you have a demand creation campaign strategy in hand, you can go ahead and get started with the development of your campaign materials. The steps you will take include generating creative concepts, creating a media plan, engaging journalists as necessary, and planning for monitor and evaluation of your campaign. Should you need guidance, visit the Demand Creation 101 section for further information on each of those stages or contact the OPTIONS Consortium at for technical assistance.

  • How can I avoid further stigmatizing audiences with a PrEP communications campaign?

    The best way to avoid further stigmatizing your audience is to ensure that specific populations are not explicitly mentioned as being at substantial risk for HIV in communication materials (E.g., “PrEP is for young women at high risk for contracting HIV”). On the other hand, including uplifting imagery of young women, if you are targeting young women for instance, can be acceptable because it may result in communications that are relevant and relatable. History has shown that campaigns that communicate in a manner that is positive, empowering and inclusive are more effective over the long term. That being said, each and every campaign must be examined on its own merits and in terms of the language, tone, imagery, context and channels needed to achieve the communications objectives.


  • How was the content for the PrEP Communications Accelerator developed?

    At the start of tool development, OPTIONS held 36 consultations with stakeholders from 4 African countries to assess what resources and tools were needed to support the development of communications for PrEP in sub-Saharan Africa. Stakeholders included individuals from national health ministries, funders, and implementing partners working in PrEP delivery or PrEP communications. These interviews elicited learnings about potential users of the tool, the content that was important to include and the format and design elements to consider to ensure user friendliness and efficiency.

    A literature review was then conducted. Using the snowball method, peer-reviewed (journals and conference abstracts) and grey literature were searched for key terms: target audiences, pre-exposure prophylaxis, HIV prevention, and demand creation. Ongoing and completed microbicide and oral PrEP studies and demonstration projects across Africa were also included in addition to sources relating to family planning services, given the parallels between the introduction of oral PrEP and contraception. Lastly, sources related to men and healthcare providers were also considered given the role these individuals have on a woman’s decision about HIV prevention methods. In total, over 200 resources were reviewed giving OPTIONS strategists and communications specialists a thorough overview of the information needed to assist stakeholders in their PrEP demand creation efforts.

    To further support the ongoing work in this field, OPTIONS conducted market research in Kenya to fill the informationidentified in the literature review. Qualitative and quantitative market research to inform the communications was conducted with AGYW, FSW, MSM, PWID, and SDC in 6 counties in Kenya. A total of 533 people participated. Summary findings for each of the populations are available on PrEPWatch.

    A systematic strategic communications framework was then used to organize, simplify and guide the translation of market research findings into insights. This framework, used by McCann Global Health (an OPTIONS consortium partner), essentially organized the findings into five areas (the ‘5 Cs’):

    1. Consumer (the profile—attitudes, beliefs, and values—of the potential end-users for PrEP, with a focus on adolescent girls and young women, female sex workers, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, and serodiscordant couples)
    2. Culture (macro-level forces that shape people’s lives, attitudes, and behaviors)
    3. Connections (the possible places, moments, and conversations where PrEP could enter into the consumer’s life)
    4. Category (defined product category dynamics, conventions and key competitors) and
    5. Company (a deep understanding of PrEP and the problems it is trying to solve).

    Other human centered design (HCD) work was ongoing during this time, including from the EMOTION project (PrEP uptake/use among young women in South Africa), Routes2Results (HIV prevention preferences among young women in South Africa), and Project Imbali (vaginal ring market research in South Africa and Uganda). As insights were identified through the OPTIONS market intelligence work and findings shared from these other projects, common insights were identified, and ‘human truths’ were clearly uncovered irrespective of country or specific project.

    This analysis across the ‘5 Cs’ and integration of HCD insights enabled tool developers to construct the campaign strategy  that is tailored to each audience in the Communications Fast Tracker. Other content on the PrEP Communications Accelerator focuses on each of the essential components of campaign development (of which strategy development is just a part). This process has been informed with practical examples and ‘case studies’ from the field that highlight use of specific tactics, channels, and media engagement.

    All content from the Communications Fast Tracker section was tested by a range of NGO representatives and potential and actual end-users of PrEP, to gauge the accuracy of the content for each audience. Specifically, we spoke with ten NGO representatives from organizations  working with AGYW, FSW, PWID, SDC and MSM across 6 African countries, and 9 PrEP end-users or potential users including those within the AGYW, MSM, SDC, and general population audiences. The audience-specific strategies generated from the Fast Tracker were well received and resonated with those engaged in testing. Input was received, and minor modifications and adjustments were made to the strategies before finalizing.

    Once the Accelerator was built, the website experience (format, structure and user-experience) was validated with a total of 19 stakeholders (selected from organizations who might be likely to use the tool) from 6 African countries. Funders, implementing partners and members of national health ministries all provided input.

    Multiple content reviews were also conducted by OPTIONS consortium partners. Programs such as the USAID-funded LINKAGES project and Partners PrEP also reviewed content. Throughout this process, from tool inception to launch, OPTIONS’ goal was to ensure that all pieces of content were accurate and sufficiently representative of the target audiences’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs (where applicable), and that the tool was responsive to identified stakeholder needs in the area of PrEP communications. It is OPTIONS’ intent that the PrEP Communications Accelerator provide a robust starting point for PrEP communications. OPTIONS encourages all strategy outputs to be tested and contextualized locally before developing the demand creation materials.

    OPTIONS Consortium partners engaged in this work include McCann Global Health, Wits RHI, FHI 360, and AVAC.