The last 18 months have seen massive changes in the aged care sector. The new home care package process has resulted in many providers needing to invest in building a direct to consumer brand for the first time. There has no doubt been significant wastage of time and money as marketing teams scramble for a land grab. Some of these new brands are now under Royal Commission scrutiny and with the entire sector also tarnished with a high volume of negative media, the ability of brands to reach their audience with their own messaging is hugely important.
First things first
It’s not a simple thing defining a brand. One of the most popular starting points of late is the Golden Circle of “finding your why”, but I strongly suspect most who work this process end up with much of the same outputs. Identifying the truth of your business and how this translates to your brand can be a challenging process. Finding the truth about your brand, where it is now and where you would like to take it, and developing an element of difference is crucial. Whoever you decided to help you on this task, be sure they understand the depth and breadth of the process, the outputs and be super clear on your audience from the get-go.
Audience research and analysis
Who are my customers today and who will they be in the future? Most aged care businesses will have a dual audience of clients and their sons and daughters who are often crucial in the decision process. The messaging and the way they consume media will be different in most cases, and geography will also have an impact. It takes time to build a brand, with a medium to long view on reach and frequency. Research your audience well, find a distinctive message and take the time to reinforce this over time. Don’t only rely on audience data provided by media owners. Use the ABS, your owned insights and interrogate repeatedly to understand more about where your audience is, and how to reach them.
Alas we are not all data scientists (probably a good thing!). Track and measure everything you do, whether it is brand focused, or more direct response to drive a specific outcome like phone calls or enquiries. Digital channels provide tools and techniques to do this, and broadcast media is more time based and reach and frequency focused. Start with hypotheses, overlay data, uncover trends and proof to inform media buying decisions that will stretch your budget and grow your brand more efficiently.
In 2018, aged care has never been under so much public scrutiny. Be absolutely certain whichever brand territory you choose, the language and values are lived and genuine or run the risk of being exposed to the contrary and significant re-investment needed.
Adam Shalagin is a digital marketing veteran, with over 20 years experience with brands including Expedia and eBay. He is the co-founder of Union, an independent media agency based in Melbourne.Do you have an idea for a story?
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