Jessica Hanson

Photo of Jessica Hanson

Vice President
Washington, DC
Posts: 2

Jessica is a Vice President in the Social Marketing group at Ogilvy Public Relations. She brings an expertise in leading and advising governmental, corporate, non-profit, and association clients in their efforts to get consumers to make more informed and better decisions for their health and lifestyle. In her ten years of experience, she has developed a deep knowledge of public health, communications strategy, cause marketing, crisis communications, media relations, and special events. In addition, Jessica is skilled at working with brands, partners, and stakeholders to raise the visibility and recognition of their contributions to creating positive, sustainable change.

Prior to joining Ogilvy PR, Jessica worked in the Marketing Department of Nixon Peabody, LLP and Levick Strategic Communications, where she spent several years assisting law firm, government and corporate clients with various crisis matters surrounding high profile litigation and national representation within the media.

Jessica holds two bachelor’s degrees from James Madison University, one in Public Relations and the second in Scientific and Technical Communications. You can follow her on Twitter: @JstJR

Do Health and Happiness Go Hand in Hand?

Feb 21

Two nights ago my husband and I stumbled across a growing viral challenge called 100happydays.  Simply put, the challenge draws attention to the fact that in our state of busy schedules and constant connection to communication (e.g., Facebook, Twitter), we as a society are taking less and less time to enjoy the moment, appreciate the joy, and bask in the happiness of life.

As such, the challenge is asking people to commit to 100happydays.  For 100 days, we are to reflect on one thing each day that makes up happy and share a picture that represents that moment of happiness, thus hopefully creating a habit of “stopping to smell the roses.” People who’ve successfully completed the challenge have claimed to: (1) now recognize what makes them happy, (2) be in a better mood, (3) feel grateful for the blessing in their lives, and (4) become more optimistic about life in general.

Well what doesn’t sound good about that? Sign us up!

So we officially started #100happydays!  And in pausing to reflect on my moment of happiness from today (which happens to be playing ball with my Labrador puppy this morning), I got to thinking…if all of these positive emotions result from reflecting on happiness, I wonder what other health benefits might result? Is there a link a between health and happiness? Could state of mind equal state of body?

Apparently yes! According to a research study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), benefits of positive mental health go a long way.  In a 2007 study, that followed more than 6,000 men and women aged 25 to 74 for 20 years, Laura Kubzanksy (HSPH associate professor of society, human development, and health) found that “emotional vitality—a sense of enthusiasm, of hopefulness, of engagement in life, and the ability to face life’s stresses with emotional balance—appears to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.”  However, Kubzansky is quick to recognize that it’s not a simple as “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” and notes that social context and environments also play a large role in a person’s ability to get to state of well-being.

According to another study published in the journal Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being in 2011, a review of more than 160 studies of human and animal subjects found that — all else being equal — happy people tend to live longer and experience better health than their unhappy peers.

So how do we achieve happiness? Aside from this 100happydays challenge, how do we really learn to live in the moment?

Matt Killingsworth’s TEDTalk shares insights as to what influences happiness, which was garnered from his research on happiness levels in more than 600,000 people. The video offers helpful ways to be mindful of your own happiness.

Another interesting result of the 100happydays – happiness is contagious! Sharing your happiness and optimism with others increases the probability that others around you will be happier.  So I challenge everyone to participate in 100happydays. Let’s see what we can accomplish for both our mental and physical health, as well as for society, by simply pausing each day to take a photo and reflect on a single happy moment. What are you waiting for? Stop reading. Start finding your happy.

Private Sector Engagement in Social Marketing – The Courageous Path Forward

Apr 26

One of the debates this week during the World Social Marketing Conference in Toronto, Canada that stood out the most to me was the conversation around the need for the private sector to play a role in social change and the challenge presented to scientists, advocates, and the business community to work together to successfully create that change.

The dialogue was introduced by OgilvyEngage’s interactive panel discussion on the private sector’s engagement in Social Marketing and why businesses should foster behavior change.  The panel helped sharpen perspectives on the issue and examined the multiple roles that the private sector can play as well as how to get the most out of private sector collaborations.

The panel featured key thought leaders in the social marketing field, including:

  • Nancy Lee, President of Social Marketing Services, Inc. and Adjunct Faculty at University of Washington;
  • Jay Bernhardt, President of Digital Health Impact, Inc. and Professor and chair of Health Education and Behavior at the University of Florida;
  • Celeste Bottorff, Vice President of Living Well at The Coca-Cola Company; and,
  • Tom Beall, Managing Director of the Global Social Marketing practice at Ogilvy Public Relations.

Overall, the discussion centered around how government and other traditional leaders of social marketing movements can benefit from private sector leadership and support on behavior-related initiatives. Kicking off the panel, Nancy Lee touched on the evolution of corporate social marketing and clarified how it differs from Corporate Social Responsibility and Cause Marketing, saying that corporate social marketing is perhaps the most important direction for Social Marketing.  Tom Beall chimed in to shed light on the communications aspects of behavior change programs.  Jay Bernhardt furthered the discussion by offering perspective on how important it is, when seeking help from the private sector, “to think of them as partnerships not sponsorships,” and further added that “starting small is key to building trust and momentum.”  And in support of Jay’s comment on partnerships verses sponsorships, Celeste Bottorff noted that money represents the least powerful of corporate resources and that for Coca-Cola it’s “their voice, distribution, and customer relationships that add the greatest value in public private partnerships.”

But the most valuable takeaway for me was a point made by Jay – “the solutions to our society’s most wicked problems will only be solved with involvement of all sectors.”  It is clear that there are many very strong, and sometimes opposing opinions on this issue, and as a practitioner I recognize that it can sometimes be uncomfortable to venture into this space. But as Social Marketing as a discipline is evolving,  it’s going to be increasingly important for all of us to accept the new way forward and acknowledge the mutual benefit that comes through the private sectors engagement in social change.  As Celeste noted, “both sides of public-private partnerships need courage,” but “it’s the right thing to do, and we should do it because we can do it.”

Our dedicated behavior change practice, OgilvyEngage partners with companies and organizations to help create customized communications programs that prompt and support shifts in attitudes and behaviors among target audiences and enhances return on investment for businesses. To learn more, check our paper From Cause to Change: The business of behavior, which discusses how businesses can harness the power of behavior change and show that what’s good for individuals and good for society can also be good for business.