A quarter of four metro-dwelling Australians are unaware of the name of the aged care provider their relative uses, indicating a lack of focus on brand positioning and building in the industry, according to a new report.
The Inside Aged Care 2019 report released last week found almost a third of the 1,547 participants from metropolitan WA, NSW, VIC, SA and QLD had a parent or close family member receiving aged care (32 per cent).
It found that one in four of this cohort don’t know the aged care provider’s name their relative uses while many others reported a property name rather than a brand.
“This demonstrates clearly the industry is at a low level of marketing maturity, with brand positioning and building not yet becoming a focus for many providers,” the report found.
The level of ‘don’t knows’ ranged from 25 per cent (Victoria) to 17 per cent (Queensland) for relatives using residential aged care and from 27 per cent (South Australia and Victoria) to 16 per cent (Queensland) for family members using home care.
The highest levels of unawareness among participants are for relatives using over-55s villages in South Australia (35 per cent) Victoria (33 per cent) and Queensland (28 per cent).
The top three known providers varied by state but Bupa Aged Care features frequently in across care type in the eastern states (see chart below).
People aware of property name rather than brand
The report was a mine of information for aged care providers, said Veronica Mayne, managing director of insights agency Faster Horses, which carried out the study.
“There is a surprisingly high level of don’t knows within each type of care,” Ms Mayne told Australian Ageing Agenda.
It shows many people are engaging with either an individual residential aged care property or home care worker rather than the brand, she said.
In residential aged care, for example, people might see a big brand care provider but it will be called Rose Street Residential Aged Care, Ms Mayne said.
“The brand will also be there, but they don’t associate with that particular brand. They associate with individual property. It is not that they are completely oblivious and unaware, it is just that the brand has not been built.”
Many of the responses in the ‘other catgery’ above include property names rather than brand names, Ms Mayne said.
She pointed out that providers did not need to be marketing oriented before recent aged care reforms including the 2017 shift to consumer directed care.
“Each individual aged care provider did not have to think about it [before] so they are starting to, but that level of marketing maturity is very low.”
Bupa aged care a leader for brand awareness
Of the three quarters of participants who could name the provider their relative uses, Bupa Aged Care features frequently in the top three across each type of aged care in the eastern states.
The provider ranked first for unprompted brand awareness among NSW and VIC respondents and fifth among those in both SA and QLD.
Bupa Aged Care also ranked first for brand consideration for a relative considering care within 10 years.
Ms Mayne said Bupa does very well despite only operating in the eastern states and that their recent regular appearances in the media for negative reasons were still raising awareness.
Older people more aware
Elsewhere the report found that compared to the overall state results, respondent aged 50 or over consistently showed a greater level of unprompted and prompted recall of aged care providers.
“However, even among those aged 50+ there remains a considerable proportion who were unable to name any aged care provider unprompted, with answers for ‘don’t know / no response’ ranging from 18 per cent to 29 per cent,” the report found.
Read also: Report reveals falling trust in aged care
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