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“The best type of campaign is the one which emotionally connects people”

Third Sector spoke to the Heart Foundation’s Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Taylor, about the marketing strategies the sector needs

As the not-for-profit sector struggles with implementing and maintaining marketing strategies, the Heart Foundation has carved out a plan to relaunch the brand.

On the 1st of July, the Heart Foundation merged its eight state and territory divisions and has since directed marketing strategies towards addressing Australia’s number one killer – heart disease.

The foundation’s Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Taylor, told Third Sector that the organisation has been focused on building a solid marketing team and transitioning into new roles as it focuses on its three year plan, dubbed the ‘One Heart’ strategy.

“One of the major things on the radar is to essentially relaunch our brand,” Taylor said.

“We’ve been relatively quiet over the last five years since our last campaign, which happened back in 2012, so we’re going to invest in a brand campaign and we’re undertaking an agency approach to find a new creative agency.”

Taylor, who has previously worked as a former Woolworths marketing head, has since brought commercial skills over since his move to the foundation at the end of March.

“What I’ve tried to do and one of the things that attracted me to The Heart Foundation is I really wanted to find an opportunity where I could apply my commercial experience into a sector that was traditionally a non-traditional marketing strategy,” Taylor said.

“The basics are essentially the same. Driving brand, building trust, using data and ultimately making sure you’ve got the technology platforms that are developed with a customer in mind. If you work to those principles, you can’t go wrong.”

Taylor said the plan to apply basic and contemporary marketing principles to the foundation will result in really big changes. Part of the process behind the strategies was to allocate appropriate roles to staff and hire others to fill in the needed skills.

Taylor added that the Heart Foundation has largely been “fragmented in our look and feel” and that by unifying the divisions into the one entity, the foundation could be a lot more consistent in the marketplace – a key to long-term success.

“We will be able to make sure we’re focusing our resources on doing fewer programs but doing them a lot better, and that means we’re much more efficient and we should be able to spread the word that heart disease is the number one killer in Australia.”

The One Heart strategy will focus on three areas of prevention: support, care and research. The programs the team has put in place will highlight those tactics, some of which will be large campaigns and others providing one-to-one support.

As part of the strategy, the organisation has undergone a tender process to find a new creative agency to aid in the relaunch of the brand. Taylor said that by having an agency as a lead, the foundation will be much more consistent in look and feel messaging.

“Some of the best creative work being developed across Australia and the world at the moment, is often within the charity sector or the giving sector, simply because the best type of campaign or brand to work on is one where people can have more of an emotional connection,” Taylor added.

Taylor said he was looking for an agency that could be a long-term strategic partner. He added the organisation has received a lot of interest from agencies that are looking to work with a foundation such as the Heart Foundation, in order to create more emotion-based work.

“The way I work with agencies is to look at them to be a very trusted part of the business. They need to get involved and learn the business and learn the industry, they need to understand the challenges that we face as a business both internally and externally,” Taylor said. “They need to essentially be a driving force for change.”

By implementing these marketing strategies and relaunching the brand by the end of the year, the Heart Foundation hopes this will largely increase trust and awareness.

“Trust is everything for every brand, not just in this sector. You only need to look at what’s happening with major banks and what sort of impact a lack of trust can have on their brands,” Taylor said.

“We’re very lucky in that The Heart Foundation, being around close to 60 years, has developed a huge amount of trust with the community. For us, any strategy moving forward will be to reiterate that trust and hopefully build on it more.”

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