3 minute read.

How to build and maintain trust at a difficult time

Covid-19 has undoubtedly had a negative impact on the reputation of the aged care sector. Here in Australia, the cluster of cases in Victorian aged care facilities has caused widespread concern around hygiene standards and transparency. With the fear of Covid-19 now ever-present, it is more important than ever for aged care organisations to protect their reputations and customer relationships with effective corporate communications.

Effective corporate communications can:

  • shape a positive, strong brand image of your organisation as a trusted, authoritative provider of quality services
  • gain the confidence and support of current residents, their families and staff, promoting loyalty and advocacy
  • increase awareness in your broader community including prospective customers, referring bodies, benefactors and volunteers.

Aged care marketing checklist

To communicate effectively during a changing climate, it is helpful for your organisation to think about the following three themes and associated actions:

  1. visible leadership
  2. understanding your audience
  3. transparent and timely communications.

1. Visible Leadership

In uncertain times, visible leadership is key. As the face of your brand, visible leaders provide direction and communicate the necessary steps and actions. They are reassuring, honest and open, thereby strengthening trust in the corporate brand.

Leverage your CEO’s or leadership team’s reputation and credibility. Make sure they have a strong voice and visible role across your communications activities.

 2. Understanding your audience

In the rush to deliver day-to-day services, do you really take time to understand and listen to your customers and stakeholders? In aged care services, your customers are your direct clients – but their families and carers are also customers. And let’s not forget key referring groups: GPs, allied health partners, discharge planners, and other supporters. By understanding and connecting with these audiences, you can anticipate potential problems and respond to emerging issues.

Have efficient processes in place to monitor mood and flag emerging issues, so you can be agile enough to respond. Share responsibility for communications across the broader team; help them to understand its importance and their contribution.

Develop your database beyond current customers. Ensure you keep the broader community aware of the steps you are taking to demonstrate good governance and care leadership.

 3. Transparent and timely communications

In 2020, more than ever, we have all sought out trusted sources that can be relied on to provide timely and clear information. As service providers, you have a responsibility to provide this information to your clients and their families, as well as the broader community. If you do this well and in an effective manner, you will protect or enhance your reputation.

  • Make key information as accessible as possible. Develop an integrated approach so that news and feature items are shared across different media platforms (e.g. website, social media, e-newsletters) and clearly signposted. Ensure visitors to your website can quickly find what they’re looking for. Ensure your website is edited and updated regularly, and link from short social media posts back to your website or other authoritative sources.
  • Centre your digital communications platforms around your customer. Follow the public’s concerns and anticipate future problems; this will inform what information you might need to provide for your clients. How do you continue to reassure your audience that you are a trusted, caring organisation? Social media provides a window into your organisation so use it to your advantage: include images and stories of your residents with real-life examples of day-to-day care within your service.
  • Develop an ongoing schedule of communications activity. Shout more loudly about individual successes to differentiate your organisation. Become more transparent than ever before with your data, stories and images.
  • Despatch regular news updates. Ensure your communications are consistently well produced and presented, with simple, clean layouts, in line with your logo and brand design. Use a consistently caring, concise and knowledgeable voice that presents a professional – but engaging and accessible – image of your organisation.
  • Monitor your newsworthiness and audience interest. Digital media provides easily accessible data on open rates, click-through rates and unsubscribes. Harness Google and MailChimp analytics – as well as Facebook or other social media analytics – to understand how your communications are received. Your newsletters and posts should attract ongoing interest – focus on maintaining and increasing their reach.

How a marketing specialist can help

Edmonds Marketing delivers well-considered aged care marketing plans and integrated activities based on sound strategy and insights. We assist businesses to successfully navigate changing market dynamics due to increasing complexity, competition and customer demands. We also help businesses accelerate to the next level and/or expand business through new market development.

If you wish to chat with an experienced marketing specialist during a changing climate, get in touch with Damien: damien@edmondsmarketing.com.au

 

 

For more information on aged care marketing plans, check out these blogs and videos:

 

Image source: Shutterstock# 349777859.