Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jul-Aug 2012 Contents WE JUST WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY
Seniors' living and care provider, IRT, launched its new brand
in December 2010 after a six-year period of research into the
consumer experience. IRT CEO, Nieves Murray, a big believer
in the importance of the consumer in the branding process,
retrospectively comments how the long lead-up was worth it.
"For us, the brand has to represent what our consumers are about
as they are our sole purpose," says Murray. "...So it was important
to hear what they believed and felt about our [former] brand. We
wanted to get the new brand right so to do that, we consulted
broadly. We didn't want rebranding to be just an academic exercise."
The organisation recruited an external agency to conduct key
consumer focus groups and other stakeholder consultations. This
helped to identify, not only what consumers wanted, but what
staff, external bodies and the community thought of IRT and
whether IRT was delivering on their hopes or reinforcing their
fears associated with getting older.
"We found that older Australians don't want to be considered
as frail or needing to be looked after. They considered themselves
as valued contributors to society. They didn't want to be invisible
and wanted to be associated with a company that is dynamic and
forward-thinking. This message came from our staff as well. The
community also thought we were a trust...and 'retirement' was
not where our residents thought they were at."
As a result of the research findings, IRT repositioned its
activities to be "more consumer-driven than paternalistic;
and dynamic". These positive elements were identified as the
organisation's point of difference and its new brand reflected the
change in culture and attitude.
The rebrand included a new name, IRT instead of 'Illawarra
Retirement Trust' as it was formerly known, a new logo (see
box), brand image -- a happy, independent and free male and
female couple on a motorbike-mission statement, and tag-line,
"leading the seniors' revolution".
"Most of our competitors focused on what the brand can do for
the consumer. What we focused on was how do we work with the
consumer and advocate for them, and work to improve society
for senior Australians? Our brand provides clarity about what we,
as a company, decide to do and not to do. And there is no room
for misinterpretation when we mention the 'seniors' revolution'
[in our tagline]. It means we are not happy with the status-quo
and will keep fighting to make it better."
WORDS OF ADVICE AND CAUTION
Victorias's Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) general
manager of brand and communications, Dan Woods, agrees that
a well-informed branding exercise can be powerful. Not only
can it align consumer expectations and experiences with what
a company promises it does, it can also help a well-established
organisation remind customers where it aims to go. This, Woods
says, is why the 127-year-old RDNS is currently rebranding.
"Our history, while important, is not a differentiator in a
modern context," says Woods. "We are only as good as what we
are doing today and need to make sure we continue to earn and
maintain our reputation."
RDNS's rebranding exercise, which began three years ago,
involves extensive internal and external consultations and
encompasses a workforce of 1,000 nurses within a total of 1,800 staff.
"A more competitive landscape has also meant that we need
to understand the totality of the RDNS experience...And that
experience has to be in line with broader dynamics, community
expectations, changes in the national landscape, the ageing of the
population, the Productivity Commission report [and so on].
"...So the most important thing for us to understand in this
process is how people perceive the organisation today and what
they want the organisation to represent today. And the functional
benefits of the organisation, as well as our aspiration goals for it."
However, director of Marketability, David Lo Russo, issues a
note of warning to all aged care organisations about to embark
or contemplating a rebranding journey. Research alone, does not
make a good brand. It is what you do with the research that counts.
Organisations must first understand the consumer experience and
then align the organisation's activities, and brand, accordingly.
"Without insights and strategy anchored in a real and
meaningful understanding of the audience, then any branding
exercise runs the risk of being costly, irrelevant, and ultimately
not successful over time," says the head of the specialised
marketing consulting business, Lo Russo.
Also, he says, organisations must beware of making promises
they can not deliver. "If you do have an inferior product and
service, the first thing you have to do is fix it," "Once that is done,
the implication is that your brand will benefit."
Business partner, Patrick Weiffsenberg, agrees. "A brand has
to reflect the reality of what the organisation is or could be," says
Weiffsenberg. "It's not a magic wand. You've got to do a lot of
work behind the scenes."
Back in the health care branding webinar, Casey concludes the
argument about the importance of research done well. He says that
by the end of the consultation exercises, before creating a new
logo or tagline, organisations must be ready and able to answer the
following: "How does your customer relate to your organisation?
What are the drivers for interest in your product or services? What
is the most effective way of building your market?" Casey says.
And although these answers may seem cut and dried, they are
always worth asking. "Sometimes, when things seem obvious, a
brand comes out that seems to have cut through. And it will be very
cleverly presented in a way that strikes a chord with people." n
WHAT'S IN A LOGO?
IRT CEO, Nieves Murray, explains
how the logo (right) came to be:
"We wanted it to represent a forward
thinking, dynamic organisation
and positive advocacy for senior
Australians. We wanted it to be
friendly, approachable and real."
The colour of the organisation's
title was always blue but, she says,
"teal gives it a slightly more modern
twist and harps back to strength, history and tradition".
The upward arch of the letters and the swirl of the dot on
the 'i' represent forward thinking and innovation. Each element
of the logo has a separate shape indicating their individuality
within a broader united whole.
FACT V FICTION
General manager of Wise Agency, Nadia Henry, provides
marketing advice to organisations targeting the over-50s
market. With years of experience in the field, Henry is in
an excellent position to bust some of the most popular
Myth #1: A brand is just a logo. "A brand is much more than
just a logo. What motivates people to purchase one product or
service over another is about the sum of all interactions with the
organisation from all sorts of sources."
Myth #2: A rebrand is expensive and worthless. "This view
is commonly held by employees who do not see the value of
a rebrand and only see the high expense through new brand
advertising, events, signage and uniforms etc. It is the job of
the organisation's 'branding committee' to ensure the value of
the rebrand is seen by each employee...This is vital in ensuring
a relevant buy-in is achieved."
Myth #3: The marketing department deals with the
brand. "It is so important that an organisation recognises the
need to position a brand as central to its business strategy.
While projects within the brand may be managed by the
marketing department, it is a organisation-wide responsibility
to live out the brand promise every day."
The current IRT logo
AAA | JULY -- AUGUST 2012 | 31
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