Aged care organisations should be prepared to voice their position on social matters as part of their overall brand and marketing strategy, an upcoming industry conference will hear.
It is important for providers to stay true to their brand promise beyond their brochures and website, said Mirus Australia director of marketing and brand Amanda Terranova.
“Providers need to take a stand on social, cultural and community issues,” Ms Terranova told Australian Ageing Agenda.
“It’s not only a key brand differentiator but your community now expects more from you than just selling products and services.”
Ms Terranova will tell providers why it is important to care for their organisation’s brand and how to improve its longevity at the LASA National Congress in Adelaide this month.
She said an organisation’s brand promise should underpin its “everybody marketing” strategy, which requires fostering a culture of marketing among all staff as well as referrers, suppliers and the wider community, and ensuring the brand promise is consistent and repeated in all communication.
During times of public attention or scrutiny, such as media coverage on aged care industry issues and the aged care royal commission, it is critical to “set the tone from the top,” Ms Terranova said.
“Board directors and executive teams should ensure the right policies, systems and processes are in place to support their workforce, clients and potential clients during turbulent times.”
That includes digital, social media and privacy policies and reputational management as a key part of an overall strategy, she said.
“Headlines are inevitable in our industry, so plan for your chief executive to have a voice in the public forum. The more visible your executives are, the greater the trust and the more positively it will impact your organisation’s brand,” Ms Terranova said.
“However, this is not a time to wing it. This is a time for controlling the narrative and alignment to your brands vision and values.”
She recommends Melinda Muth and Bob Selden’s book Setting the Tone from the Top: How directors conversations shape culture as a valuable resource for aged care board members and senior executives on how to communicate more effectively.
Before implementing a strategy that may affect the brand, Ms Terranova said it was important to have the backing of the leadership team.
“Achieving the brand’s vision and commercial goals should be a shared responsibility across the entire organisation. It’s the executive’s job to lead the strategy of the organisation and the marketing functions job to translate into positive brand positioning,” she said.
The LASA National Congress will be held in Adelaide from 28-30 October.
Related conference coverage: Beyond consumer directed care
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