For just over a year now, I’ve been working with Helen Sanderson and her team to develop the branding for Wellbeing Teams – a radically different model for homecare.
It’s taken some time to develop this radical new model, and we’ve gone through a number of iterations already in terms of how we’re working and how we’re planning to grow, which has been reflected in our agile approach to communications. All of the core team are alumni of Seth Godin’s altMBA programme (I’m currently on the programme), and the ‘ship it’ model has led us to an iterative, flexible way of working which is reflected in our constant learning, checking, changing and developing over time.
With the first Wellbeing Teams due to launch shortly in Wigan, England, we’re now at a point where everything is finally becoming real. We’ve hired team members who share our values, are part way through our inductions, and have printed collateral to welcome people to our new service.
This seems like a logical point on which to reflect about what we’ve tried and learned with our branding, and today I’m starting by taking you through the thinking we used when designing the welcome brochure that we give to people upon starting our service. It’s one of the first items that some people and their families will come into contact with when engaging with our brand, so it needs to communicate what we stand for.
Here are 3 points that we kept in mind throughout.
1. Reflect the vibrancy of life
Wellbeing Teams aren’t just here to take people a ready-made meal and give them a bath. Far from it. As far as we’re concerned, keeping people safe, clean and well is of vital importance, but it’s a very low bar to set when we’re talking about supporting people to live their life well.
Instead, Wellbeing Teams focus on what’s important to people as well as what’s important for them, and we work with the people we support to understand how we can give them a vibrant, fulfilling life full of the things that matter to them.
Our brand colours reflect the vibrancy and variety that a life lived to the full brings, and it’s immediately apparent from a glance at the cover that we’re not going to just leave people alone at home with just the TV for company.
2. Keeping it real
Homecare photography often looks staged – often because it is.
We took a decision early on that stock photography was to be avoided as far as possible, because people can often tell that it’s not reflective of the service itself. Things look too clean, too sanitised – and that’s not what real life is like. During a pilot project we worked with Sam of Spark the Difference to start the Humans of Homecare project, and gathered a number of photographs of the team at work with the people they support.
We also use visual motifs throughout that tell people that our homecare service isn’t just about sitting at home (unless that’s what people want, of course). Instead, we can help with shopping, get out and about, getting back into hobbies that you might not have been able to continue anymore, connecting with your community, and more.
3. Putting people at ease
For us, homecare is about supporting people to live their life, the way they want to, in their own home. This means that people are inviting us in to their life and home – a potentially scary feeling that could make them feel like they are losing control.
A welcome brochure that feels impersonal and business-like, printed on an office printer and full of emergency contact details, would be the absolute worst way for us to put people at ease; nor would it show just how much we value the people we care for.
Instead our welcome document feels like a magazine that you’re interested in picking up and reading, or a brochure for a dynamic new product (which is exactly what it is). You can find the statutory information in there too, of course, but we want to let people know the most important information first – what we’re promising them and how we’ll support them to live their life. It feels bright, energetic, and most importantly, human.
Does it cost more to work like this? Yes, a little. But we all know that first impressions count, and we want to be supporting people over the long-term, building great relationships and building better lives and communities, together. So do we think it’s worth spending a little more to get off on the right foot? Absolutely.
Wellbeing Teams are launching shortly in Wigan, England; and a number of other Wellbeing Teams will be launching across different locations in England soon after.
Find out more about Wellbeing Teams at wellbeingteams.org.