Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Spt-Oct 2014 Contents IN THE NEW world of aged services
where prices are published online and
the consumer calls the shots,
understanding the role and importance
of brand is now paramount, says Gill
Walker, managing director of Evergreen
Advertising & Marketing.
"Strong brand equity will attract
customers and staff, as well as protect
profits. For those that do not invest in their
brand I predict it will be a price-based
competition to the bottom," says Walker,
a regular on the aged care and retirement
living conference circuit.
She offers the following practical and
cost-effective strategies to protect and
grow your brand:
Get copies of all your competitor adverts,
pin them on the wall, put yours in the
middle and scrutinise your difference. Aim
for a single-minded message that you
own and others don't. Look at colours,
imagery and the tone of words to create a
personality that represents your brand.
A PICTURE TELLS A
Your website is a critical member of the
sales team, working 24/7, and it looks
the best it can. Poorly taken photos,
low resolution, bad composition and
lighting do not help. Invest in professional
photos across your collateral or use a
real estate photographer skilled at
setting up a room to look its best for an
DIGITAL NEEDS TO BE
THE CORNERSTONE OF
A MEDIA PLAN
Embrace aggregate listing sites and
acknowledge they are going to be trusted
more than company ones. If paying to
advertise and list then check audience data
is audited. Include photos where permitted
and fully-utilise the My Aged Care listing.
Get smart with adwords and use the full
suite of free analytic tools to customise your
campaigns. Our experience has shown
that electronic direct mail (EDMs) from
creditable sources are far more powerful
than bought lists.
Stock images are
terrific and sites such
as istockphoto.com are
great, but begin reviewing results on page
30 or 40 rather page one to improve your
chances of getting images the rest of the
aged care community is not using. For
free images, try premium libraries such as
Getty, Corbis or Shutterstock and search
under royalty free.
COMPARE AND SAVE
Include checklists, diagrams and
summaries in your advertising strategy,
which time poor people including influencer
targets like daughters will appreciate. Busy
people including the baby boomer cohort
will pay extra for services and flexibility,
because for them, the journey is as
important as the outcome. n
Amalgamations and mergers:
a process for success
IT IS A RELATIONSHIP game and a
relationship process, Michael Goldsworthy,
principal consultant at Australian Strategic
Services, says of his biggest learning from
the 242 amalgamations and mergers he
has worked on.
Firstly, the two parties need to be a
good match, which Goldsworthy describes
as someone rich in resources, ideas,
information, money, services, culture and
the vision or the passions of the place.
Secondly, a proper process is essential
to a successful amalgamation or merger,
That includes a good change manager
to facilitate and project manage the
process and provide technical advice.
He recommends those with little or no
experience get somebody in. If using an
internal person, Goldsworthy says they
need to be very skilled and understand the
process from beginning to end.
Top of the must have list is an
amalgamation project Gantt chart so
everyone is clear on the steps and activities
over time, he says. The other key elements
are an amalgamation or merger working
group and plan for the 12 to 24 months
after the transaction.
It causes huge problems for those
without these, says Goldsworthy. "You hear
some horrendous stories of 12, 24, and 36
months later about cultural clash, problems
with the systems that don't work because
they didn't have a good amalgamation
process and they haven't had a plan about
how they are going to go forward."
TO A SUCCESSFUL
1. Initiate discussions.
2. Agree on the process and sign a
memorandum of understanding (MoU)
and confidentiality agreement.
3. Form an amalgamation or
merger working group with equal
representation from each organisation
and board to develop a works program
and undertake tasks
in the MoU.
4. Develop an
5. Do due diligence
including assessing the plan to confirm
or refute the business case, and get
independent legal, financial, cultural and
service due diligence done.
6. Get the boards to review and comment
on the draft plan.
7. Develop a staff and stakeholder
communication strategy for concurrent
implementation with each organisation.
8. Check off approval from all government
departments and authorities.
9. Engage members in a series of
meetings prior to the vote highlighting
benefits and addressing concerns,
followed by the vote.
10. If vote returns a yes, sign the deed of
agreement and get everybody involved
in implementing the plan. n
Marketing is your key to
survival in competitive times
34 | SEPTEMBER -- OCTOBER 2014 | AAA
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