The Japara Rebrand
Japara commenced its rebrand in 2017. Our first step was to undertake extensive focus group research with all of the various stakeholders that we wanted our brand to resonate with. This included our residents, their family members, our staff, our referrers and, as we are a publicly listed company, our stakeholders.
The work gave us a huge amount of raw material to work with, however, the challenge was to really identify our ‘essence.’ Ultimately, we kept coming back to our core value of respect – and it’s this value that really shaped and influenced our rebranding campaign.
Another value that we kept landing on was authenticity. It was really important to me that we accurately represented Japara and our homes. One example of this is our decision to not use actors in our photography, preferring instead to photograph our own residents and, with their permission, share their stories. And what amazing stories they all have to share!
We have had wonderful and heart-warming feedback about the campaign from our residents. The feedback that really meant the most to me was from one of the residents featured in the campaign – the ‘face of Japara’ as we call her – Nancy. She talked about how as you get older you really feel like you disappear and no one notices you anymore. Nancy said that the campaign “respected and celebrated older people and their stories.” This feedback of “being seen” has been a consistent and appreciated theme.
I have also been a stickler for ensuring that our homes are accurately represented when we photograph them. As an example, I insisted that the curtains in a room we were photographing were not photoshopped out or enhanced and that our actual furniture was used. I think this is about integrity (another one of our core values). If a family or potential resident comes to tour one of our homes, it is consistent with what they saw and read about on our website or our branding collateral.
We also took some risks with this campaign. I joined Japara in April 2017 in the newly created role of General Manager – Marketing & Communications. Coming from a pharmaceutical marketing background, I did not have any aged care marketing experience. I was lucky that I have a visionary leader in Wendy Waddell (Group Executive – Care & Commercial) who didn’t want ‘the usual’ aged care rebrand.
In keeping with this, we didn’t go to all the usual suppliers that work in this area. We wanted innovation and freshness to our approach. In fact, none of the wonderful team that we have working with us on this project had any professional aged care experience. However, they are all very much aligned to our core values and nearly all have had a personal experience with aged care and a family member. We really value our partnership with Sarah Lucy and Andrew Fox from Norm Studios. We were their first client in their newly formed agency. Our photographer Rochelle Eagle and stylist Alison Turnbull were also relatively new in their chosen fields, but we saw in them their passion for care and our shared values. They really love spending time in our homes with our residents and staff (and it shows in their work). We also appreciate our working with relationship The Faith Agency too.
As part of my work in pharmaceutical marketing over the years, I have enjoyed working with some very significant marketing budgets. However, I am also a Registered Nurse and have a personal experience of parents living in aged care. This personal experience was my ‘true north’ when working with Japara and this rebrand campaign. We didn’t go Big Agency and Big Budget. With my small (but gifted) team we are very careful and prudent with our marketing spend. We are always evaluating our budgets against the important things, like – could this money be better invested in projects that are more directly related to our residents? Hence I am very proud of the quality of the campaign that we have been able to create on what some might consider very much a limited budget. Once again, this was really important to our values.
Finally, as all marketers are, we are evaluated by our metrics and numbers. Our website, which was very much designed and continues to be refined based on user experience, has enjoyed consistent and steady increases month on month and has had more than a 150% increase in traffic compared to last year and its relaunch. Online enquiries have increased by 32%. We also recently had metrics from a third party supplier demonstrating that our digital campaigns click-through rate is three-fold what other advertisers have. So, in the words of Nancy, we are definitely “being seen” – our campaigns are resonating with our target audiences and they are responding.