It’s 2014. Tony Abbott’s first budget meets fierce opposition, unrest seizes detention centres on Manus Island and same-sex marriage is illegal in Australia.
How do you reconcile the need to compete with the desire to care?
The biggest brand you’ve never heard of.
Uniting (formerly Uniting Care) has been providing services to the community for over 100 years. Founded by the Uniting Church, the organisation grew from community congregations to offer services as diverse as aged care, disability, early learning and Aboriginal services. Known for its progressive views, Uniting fearlessly advocates on issues such as refugee rights and marriage equality.
However an impending crisis was looming. In 2015 the Australian Government introduced ‘user-pay’ budget reforms in the aged care sector. This meant that rather than receiving guaranteed Government funding, Uniting would need to compete against corporate aged care providers to win business. Uniting had never focused on marketing itself. Despite being Australia’s largest aged care provider, brand awareness was at 1%.
Uniting needed to radically change in order to compete in the aged care sector, which accounts for much of its revenue. Re came on board to drive this shift, starting with aligning hundreds of disparate services (over 400 in NSW alone) around a new name and a single-minded promise.
The name ‘Uniting Care’ had become problematic, both for the organisation and its clients. Care is a passive word that implies a lack of agency on the part of the receiver. Uniting believes in empowering people to stand on their own two feet. The simplified name ‘Uniting’, used as a verb, spoke to the organisation’s bias towards action. The new name also supported Uniting’s promise of ‘Courageous Action’. This positioning highlights Uniting’s greatest differentiator. More than simply a services provider, Uniting takes real action to drive positive change for society’s marginalised and disadvantaged.
A brand built for action.
Re developed a brand system which encapsulates the boldness of ‘Courageous Action’. Led by a powerful purple to differentiate Uniting from the rest of the sector, the colour palette reflects Uniting’s reach across the whole of the nation – from the golden sands of the coast to the red centre. A custom typeface was designed by Mathieu Réguer to represent the voice and action of Uniting. This worked alongside a cross-out and underline device, which represents the people of Uniting intervening in communications to ‘right the wrongs’ wherever they were needed.
Dutch illustrator Jordy Van Den Nieuwendijk was brought on-board to help develop a house illustration style, which led the creation of a library of over 80 individual illustrations to complement Uniting’s messaging. These illustrations gave Uniting’s people a quick and cost-effective way to create consistent brand communications for the huge range of internal communications that each service produces.
Rallying Uniting’s people.
Uniting’s people are naturally wary of any money spent on ‘marketing’. So the rebrand was launched internally first. This internal campaign spoke directly to the genuine concerns of Uniting staff, using the brand to explain the pressing need for change, and the potential of a united organisation to better confront the nation’s big issues.
Launching the brand to the public.
Re took the brand public through ‘Changing lives together’, a campaign that brought together pairs of people from vastly different backgrounds to share their stories. Each of their lives had been touched by Uniting in some way, and this came to light on-screen as they discussed their trials and triumphs, their toughest and happiest moments. These nine powerful films directed by Jack Naylor captured the incredible breadth and depth of Uniting’s work.
Bringing the brand to life.
Uniting welcomes everyone no matter their lifestyle, ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation or gender identity. So for their brand launch, all of Sydney was welcome. A giant welcome mat in Martin Place featuring stories and quotes in 14 languages from clients and staff across all of Uniting’s services formed the centrepiece, while tea stations handing out free tea added to the warm and inclusive atmosphere. A lenticular photography exhibition allowed interested visitors to immerse themselves in the stories of courage told by the people Uniting helps every day.
In an age where brands are looking high and low to define their purpose, Uniting knows exactly what they’re here for. Their promise of Courageous Action is inherit in everything they do, every single day. By bringing this promise to life, the rebrand drove visibility and awareness. Post-campaign, Uniting awareness was 19% for Sydney and 12% for the state – well above the three per cent campaign objective.
Collider, Sports & Entertainment M&C Saatchi
Gary Heery, Jordy van den Nieuwendijk, Mariko Elliot