Brand Jam



Brooke Chapman

Jamming brand and purpose


SCOTT OXFORD Good day. I'm Scott Oxford, and welcome to Brand Jam, the podcast where we jam about brand because brand is our jam. I'm jamming today with my friend and my client, Brooke Chapman. Brooke started her career as a TV journo - I knew I recognised her from somewhere when I met her - and before moving into corporate communications and public relations roles advising leading brands across the mining travel property recruitment and not-for-profit sectors. Having worked within and alongside marketing teams for over 10 years, Brooke made the transition into strategic marketing roles and has led the marketing functions for some pretty interesting companies. Leading plaintiff litigation firm, Shine Lawyers, disability services provider, Endeavour Foundation, and most recently Australia's leading privately owned retirement village operator, RetireAustralia. Brooke has a passion for marketing the big, important decisions in life, and chooses her brands squarely on this criteria. Brands that can help people make positive choices and changes in their lives, from getting broken people back into work after workplace accidents to helping families find the best care and future for their disabled child, to living the final years of life after retirement in the best ways possible. Muro Marketing's high on her focus too, and I'll be keen to hear how that intersects with brand later on. And this is how Brooke and I met, through a colleague who gaged that we both had our values squarely in the same corner and loved projects that put people first. We collaborated on the Endeavour Foundation brand project and since on the RetireAustralia account, which involves brand. But today, let's start with a good story. I want to ask you, what's the brand that you remember from childhood and why, Brooke?

BROOKE CHAPMAN 01:48.685 I think the first time that I really became cognisant of the fact that some items weren't just items and there was a brand attached to them, I was probably about eight or nine. So it's the early 90s in Brisbane, and my father bought his first Jaguar. And my dad's not a real car guy, but it was what the car represented. And I know that it sort of had this sense that he had made it, and he really enjoyed driving the car, and it was so special for us when he brought that car home. We just knew how important it was to him. It's 30 years later and he's still driving a Jag. But I think also for me when he would drive me to school, I would notice that people would look at the car. This is again, Brisbane in the early 90s, there weren't a lot of Jaguars around. And I just sort of sensed that there was something attached to that, and that was really when I first became cognisant of the power of brand and the fact that it can mean a lot of different things, and it sort of elevates a particular item to something else.

SCOTT OXFORD 02:59.421 Yeah. Absolutely. Because there was a lot of luxury cars at the time, but there was just something about Jaguars. And I think it was the timber, it was the styling, it was everything that they represented. I mean the only thing better was the completely unaffordable Aston Martin. But when it came to absolute British classics without the ostentatiousness of the Germans or a Rolls-Royce or anything like that, and yeah, it was sort of attainable but also deeply special.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 03:28.246 Yeah. Absolutely. And I don't know if it was that it also felt so out of place in Australia to be driving such a British car, and that was reflected obviously in the mechanics bills that he got for that vehicle. He must have loved it because it was just so hard to maintain for Australian conditions. But that was when I really got the sense of how powerful a brand can be and what it meant to achieve something like that in terms of purchasing or buying into a brand that you'd admired for a long time.

SCOTT OXFORD 03:57.008 Yeah. And what is interesting there too is that it took hold and it stayed. It wasn't like that just [inaudible] it and it was over. It's that 30 years later, he still is true to that brand which has changed a lot in that time as well.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 04:09.616 Yeah, absolutely and a brand is a living breathing entity and you build trust with people that believe in you and follow you and you really are only as strong as the people that do believe in your brand, so I think the journey that he's had and that I've observed, certainly, was something that I thought was quite powerful and influenced the way that I've come to work in the profession.

SCOTT OXFORD 04:33.584 Yeah. Well, even you reference that fact that maybe the mechanics weren't as kind to him and that was possibly a difficult time in Jaguar's history as well in terms of some--

BROOKE CHAPMAN 04:44.151 Potentially, yeah.

SCOTT OXFORD 04:45.102 --issues around reliability but still, it clearly was not enough to damage the relationship, that there is something much deeper forged there that has held. What do you think it is that Jaguar managed to connect with him that has stood through all of that time?

BROOKE CHAPMAN 05:03.186 I think it was the exclusivity that not a lot of people had the [inaudible] who had the guts to buy the car in those days because, like you were saying, the reliability and potentially the engineering not being suited for hot conditions. So it showed a leap of faith. It showed that you were courageous and willing to sort of step outside the norm. And then, I think he just liked the refinement of it and every evening, he got in the car and had the car phone, in those days, and he had his drive home and I think he really enjoyed that commute and it turned something that was just a regular A to B into something that was really special.

SCOTT OXFORD 05:45.901 Yeah. And especially for you, Lady Muck being chauffeured around by dad as well. Has that put a Jaguar in your driveway, Brooke?

BROOKE CHAPMAN 05:56.826 It hasn't. It hasn't. I am not a car person and I'm really rough on cars, so I don't look for the prestige, I look for the durability and I've also got three sons, so I look for things that are hard wearing and I'm a very proud driver of a soccer mum car. [laughter] Very utilitarian.

SCOTT OXFORD 06:14.469 Well, you have three boys. What else? There's going to be at least one lot of soccer in there, if not a whole lot more as well, so.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 06:21.294 Absolutely.

SCOTT OXFORD 06:22.734 It's amazing how an organisation does build that trust. How have you seen in more recent times in the work that you've done-- how have you set out to build trust between the brand you work for and the customers?

BROOKE CHAPMAN 06:40.525 Again, I sort of referenced it a little bit there. A brand is not the people who build it, it's the people who believe in it and continue to buy into it over and over again and have a relationship with a brand over years, is the hope. And so I think my approach with brands that I've worked with, [Shine?], Endeavour, now RetireAustralia, you really need to get to know the people who have bought into the brand and I think-- I don't sell beer. I don't sell cars. I don't sell consumer products. When people buy a service from one of the businesses that I've worked for, it is a long term investment. Whether that's choosing the lawyer that's going to help you provide for your family again and get your life back on track and--

SCOTT OXFORD 07:24.698 Big stakes.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 07:26.040 --help you pay your mortgage. Yeah. And help you feel that you're in control of your life. That's a big decision to pick the right lawyer and the right team behind you and you're going to be with that team for probably the next 12 to 18 months on that journey and it can be a stressful journey, so there's that and then I guess moving into Endeavour Foundation where there probably is no more difficult or no bigger choice when you've got a child with intellectual disability and you're choosing who's going to care for that child and who's going to help that child with their learning and help them make their way in the world with employment and where they live so you really need to understand what's at play in terms of that decision-making process and what are the concerns? What are the push and pull factors? And sometimes common sense tells you what the concerns and the worries are and then other things come out of left field and you kind of need to have all of that in your mind when you're building the brand up because when you are selling big life choices to people, you need to make sure you're comprehensive in terms of your understanding and you're certainly building a brand where people are going to feel welcomed. They're going to feel like you get them, that you understand them and no matter how they come to you, whether they walk into your reception, whether they call you up, whether they get onto your website, immediately the feeling is that these guys get it. And that's what we're trying to do and you do that through in-depth customer understanding.

SCOTT OXFORD 08:58.935 Yeah. That's where I was going to go next was getting to know your customers because that's the big thing is that they all share one thing in common but they are all absolutely unique and these are organisations where you're talking long term relationships. Whether it be 12 month court case or whether it be many, many years of care ahead and it's just such high stakes work and in terms of making brand promises that you're then relying on a whole organisation to keep.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 09:31.378 Yeah. And you want to feel good about that, when you make that decision that, "I'm going to send my child to this learning and lifestyle centre," or "I'm going to put my faith in this lawyer and I'm never going to work again. This person is going to help me to get through the next 20, 30, 40 years of my life and provide for my family." You want people to feel good about the choices and you want them to feel comfort and security and they're very underrated emotions, feeling comfort and security and that's what we're always trying to do with the brands that I've helped to work on, for sure.

SCOTT OXFORD 10:09.392 Yeah. Well, all of them, the ones we've discussed, they all kick in at a life stage and a life change, don't they? So something either big has happened in life, an accident, an event of some sort or life has taken a pivot for a family with a child with intellectual disability.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 10:27.922 Absolutely. So whether it is you've got a court case that you need to go through, and most people really don't want to go through that, or you've got a child with a disability, whether they've just been born or whether they're moving into a new life stage where you need additional support services, or whether you're looking at a retirement or age care product, what each of those fields have in common is that the family or a decision-maker is kind of thrust into a new world and they may know nothing about retirement or disability services but there's a really steep learning curve because when there's a need, the need can be very quick, and so you're thrust into this world, you need to do a lot of in-depth research in a very short space of time and then you've got to make a decision and it is a big one. So I think one of the things that you need to do is position yourself as a trusted adviser and provide as much value-laden free information as you can so people can research and if they choose your business, at the end of the day, that's a really good thing but what we really should be doing is trying to contribute to society and make sure we're educating people on what's out there and what's available to them and making the process of making this decision a lot easier.

SCOTT OXFORD 11:46.018 And look, it makes sense to do both because you make the path easy for someone and be honourable and generous in doing that and you're going to meet that and would you say that's the key aspect of of building trust is being able to be both generous and meet the need?

BROOKE CHAPMAN 12:04.695 Definitely. I think that you've hit the nail on the head there. You need to be generous. You need to be able to, like I said, be that trusted advisor and freely give information that people are looking for. There's no sense holding things back. And you do build up a certain amount of trust and you really do position yourself as a business that people want to interact with. What we find time and time again in in the sector that I'm working in now, is that people may come to us first up, do a bunch of research. But it's human nature that people then want to go and check out what else in the market, so they should when you're making a big decision. And they go and check out a few others but oftentimes, they'll return to us. Whether it was just that it was a better fit, they got a better feel about us, we gave them the information they were looking for, and we were easy to understand and follow in terms of what your offering was, range of different reasons. But certainly, I don't think that any business is disadvantaged by being generous with information and their time. People do tend to sort of circle back if you're freely giving of that type of thing.

SCOTT OXFORD 13:17.294 Yeah, and there was a time when you'd fiercely protect that information. I remember hearing a futurist talk about probably 15 years ago at a conference, and he was talking about-- he used the phrase, abuse your own IP. And it's basically saying, "Look, the reality is holding this back is not going to-- you put it generously out there. It's not like it's of massive value to your competitors if they can't sort of deliver on it. But it's of massive value to those who would connect with you." And that's that point. You reach out generously first. You're forming that trust and as long as you continue to earn that trust, you're actually moving solidly upward from there.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 14:02.316 Yeah, absolutely. It's a relationship. Marketing and developing a brand, it's a back and forth with people. And you have to be able to freely give. And just with the field that I'm currently working in with retirement village living, we only have a 7% penetration rate in our industry. And so all of the players, all of the operators, we tend to support each other because we know that if we all educate the market a little bit better as to what lifestyles are like in our communities, that everyone will benefit. And there's room for everyone. I don't think that we need to closely guard our information and wait until someone's purchased. It just simply won't work. So I think that we can all share a lot more and be developing some tools that are of value to people before they sign on the dotted line.

SCOTT OXFORD 14:56.372 So yeah, you're talking about growing a sector and doing that together with your competitors, basically, in a way that maintains all of your individuality but enables you all to grow. It's that whole principle of putting a KFC and a Macca's on the same block. It's like you think, "Well, that's increased competition." But we learnt that a [Harbin?] actually grows.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 15:18.756 The market expands. And particularly, if you're secure in your own offering and you know that you've got something that you do that you're uniquely excellent at, that you will have customers. And if you understand those customers very intimately-- again, it comes down to that customer understanding I talked about earlier. But if you understand your customers really well and you are offering what they need and you're anticipating their needs in the future, your business will be sustainable and it will go on. I don't think that we-- I think we've all moved past the point where we're hiding trade secrets, particularly in the services industry. You want to educate people. You want people to know exactly what your offering is. And if it's not right for them, then we all need to be mature enough to know what a good and a bad customer looks like for us, so we don't want the people who are online with our product, it just won't work long term.

SCOTT OXFORD 16:06.107 Yeah. So you are talking there about brand differentiation and that you and your competitors, I've worked with you on this brand so I know who you compete with and I know what your unique aspects are, and it really is about celebrating that uniqueness and being able to build it up and having that clear understanding of who the customer is so that you are squarely aiming at that connection and, yeah, allowing those who value different things to go looking somewhere else, so.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 16:35.058 Yeah, definitely. I can't tell you how many times I hear from residents when I say, "Why did you move to this particular village?" Or, "Why did you pick [inaudible] Australia?" How many times have said to me, "It just felt right when I came in. It was just the vibe." And on the one hand, that 's really hard to bottle but that is our secret sauce we've got, but we won't be special for everyone. Not everyone will get that feeling. But it's about really understanding the people who will get that nice warm feeling when they walk into a village and then determining how we can develop a positioning and a message that resonates with those people and give them a journey and a pathway where they ultimately choose us in terms of where they want to live.

SCOTT OXFORD 17:16.796 Yeah. Yeah. And, yeah, exactly as you say, sort of bottling that special sauce. The good thing is brand is bigger than pouring out of a bottle. It is the conversations, it is. And [inaudible] had plenty of clients over the years who have a property whether it be private schools or the like, and it's about getting someone on campus and having an experience of that. And that's sort of the completion of this marketing journey, but it's all an exploration of the brand and just deciding whether the story of this village is my story and whether my story finds its place within that story.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 17:52.663 I love looking at the different touchpoints and the interactions that people have when they're building a relationship with a brand. And as you say, it quite often culminates in getting people on campus, for us, it's getting people into a community and having them attend an event where they get to meet other residents and make connections. But you really need to be [faring?] every one of those touchpoints, if they go onto your website and it's not a good experience you're sort of falling at the first hurdle if they call up and you haven't got a great call centre operation or the people don't feel like they're understood or they're put through properly, again, it's another strike against you. And I think people are learning about you at every touchpoint and also every interaction is an opportunity to knock out of the park some unconscious biases that people are bringing into the relationship they are building with your brand so you need to take that opportunity and make sure that you make the most the most of it.

SCOTT OXFORD 18:45.920 And the way you talk there and the way my understanding is too, brand is probably 50% of your job. I mean, your title is head of marketing, but really, it's marketing and brand because of all those things we just talked about. All those things they might be marketing tools but they are brand touchpoints, aren't they?

BROOKE CHAPMAN 19:04.065 Absolutely. Everything is a brand touchpoint. Even we've just done a lot of work recently around the customer journey and it obviously doesn't stop when someone buys into your product and moves into your community. For us, we have a very complex customer relationship and there is sometimes 20-odd years after the customer purchases that we still have a relationship with them so any time they attend an event it's another part of their interaction with our brand. Anytime they get on the bus, the RA brand of bus and get into the shops, it's an interaction with our brand. We need to make sure that all of the experiences that people are having have got that unique flavour of what we are about. And so it's incredibly important that you're clear on that, you've got a very clear vision, we understand who we are as a business and that everyone that comes in is also educated and schooled up on that because it's the people who are the brand ambassadors daily. In our villages we've got over 500 staff, and everyone's got to be on song for if the right brand experience is to be happening. So, yeah, brand is a huge portion of a head of marketing role, and it just finds its way of getting into new weird and wonderful areas all the time. But I think that's one of the things that marketers love about it, and it keeps us on our toes, is lots of variety.

SCOTT OXFORD 20:26.342 Yeah. Definitely. So what are some mistakes you've seen in your career sort of made around brand? We've just talked about a bunch of great things that you can do, some really proactive sensible things. Really customer at the centre and being consistent. What have you seen done badly?

BROOKE CHAPMAN 20:45.170 At the end of the day, good brand building is about authenticity. So not understanding what you're uniquely excellent at and what you do really well. That's a big one. I think also being-- and this is related, but getting sidetracked by what other people are doing and almost mimicking that, in a sense, is a real misstep because you just never going to come across as a genuine brand. Someone will want to buy what you've got, but you've got to be honest and straight with them about it. And if you're trying to be someone else, it just makes it that much harder. I think the big thing though is that you really do need to understand your slice of the market. If I think into the recent history where I've felt let down by a brand. I'm a huge sports fan, and I'm a big cricket fan. And when the ball tampering scandal happened in South Africa with the Australian cricket team, I think-- I remember I was in a board meeting a couple of days after it happened and everyone was talking about it, and these were some men and women who had been watching cricket their whole lives - 50, 60 years - and they just said, "I just feel let down. That's not--"

SCOTT OXFORD 22:02.652 Betrayed.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 22:02.952 "That's not the way Australians play sport." And I thought, at some point the culture had just become disassociated with the people who believed in the brand. And that win-at-all-costs-type mentality had seeped in, and that is not what Australians are about. And we had a couple of men or a culture there that they just didn't realise that that sort of behaviour-- or it just didn't occur to them that they were representing the brand in that moment. I don't really know what was going on. You'd have to ask them, I guess. But, I just think that for me I just felt that that was such a departure. And it's interesting now seeing what Justin Langer is doing. He's the head coach, but really it is a marketing job. He's having to rebuild the culture and the brand from scratch. And if anyone's watching the test at the moment, which is-- the series that's documenting how he's doing that, multiple times each episode he talks about the fact that it's just as much about being a great person as it is about being a great cricketer. And that's how he's changing that culture, and that's what the Australian public wants to see. So it's, again, just getting in touch with the people that believe in the brand and not believing your own PR.

SCOTT OXFORD 23:21.593 Yeah. What you're talking about there is bringing people along for the journey. And I was glad sport came up because I know you're a massive sports fan. And I also know that some codes have really struggled with the aspect of brand simply because-- rugby league has had its issues with misbehaving player-- don't want to single them out, but there's a variety of areas. And even right to Israel Folau and the gay marriage issue as well in rugby union. So nobody's immune from it in sport no matter how high level or in high intelligence or however you want to sort of categorise sport that way, but it is a classic example of if your people are not singing from the playbook, if they don't get the brand, and I think, get how important it is. We don't want our people to just play a part and just sort of put on a character, we want them to care about it, and get it, and this to matter sort of really, really deeply to them. And--

BROOKE CHAPMAN 24:27.956 Yeah, absolutely, I think with sport, those brands always have a microscope on them. And I always feel badly for some of those people who would try to manage the brand because there's big personalities involved, and that's where it gets really difficult. When you've got regular corporate brands it's a lot less high profile people involved.

SCOTT OXFORD 24:53.021 True.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 24:53.792 But yeah, but it is, it's a difficult time for sport because they're needing to shed that old-school persona of the sort of party-hard, play-hard type approach that used to be celebrated and they're needing to move into a new direction. And that comes with a lot of teething problems, when you look at rugby league as an example. I did feel for them when they-- I thought they brought out an absolutely beautiful advertising campaign earlier in the year where they sort of reimagined the Tina Turner Simply the Best advertising campaign that was so popular in the early 90s. And it was so inclusive, it was inclusive of all cultures, and races, and genders, and ages but it got panned by the different generation who weren't use to that. And I think it's just, you've got to stay strong with approaches like that. You've got to see it through and steer the course, because you do need to make sure that the brand is relevant for a whole new generation. And that was very clear that that's what they were trying to do. And sort of what we had to do at Endeavour, we needed to revitalise a very traditional, conservative, staid brand so that a whole new generation of people with a disability felt that they had a place there.

SCOTT OXFORD 26:14.766 Yeah, absolutely. Well, let's talk about it because, yeah, it was one my favourite ever brand projects to work on and there's a link to it in the show notes. And I promise you if you have a look at it, it will make your day because the brand heroes are just gorgeous. They're all Endeavour customers, they're all people with intellectual disability who brought their personality, their honesty, their absolute individuality to the photos and the videos. And they really are the centrepiece. They are what it was about and as we discussed earlier on, our job was to take them from being the subjects of this campaign and this brand, to being the centre of it, the heroes of it, putting the customer at the centre and so it had some big impacts. First of all, what did you see the brandwork do for the organisation?

BROOKE CHAPMAN 27:08.477 Oh, there were so many things. I think probably firstly it gave us an anchor point for the whole organisation. So Endeavour has an incredibly proud history. So this is an organisation that was started 70 years ago by 20 parents, on a balcony in Coorparoo, who, these parents-- their children had disabilities and they had been excluded from the school system in Queensland, and they just were not prepared to stand-by and let their children go through life without an education. So they set up a foundation and that's how it started as primarily providing education to children with an intellectual disability. So what a rich, strong, altruistic history--

SCOTT OXFORD 27:59.287 Yeah. The brand story right then and there.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 28:02.051 Absolutely, so strong and such a noble cause but you sort of fast forward 70 years and we were stuck between that being the origin story but then needing to move to something fresh. The NDIS had come in. I think that everyone-- at the point where we needed to do the rebrand, everyone was really fatigued with the transition to the NDIS because it was large scale reform and transformational change for the whole sector. It was much needed and I think it's going to leave the system-- the system's going to be much better for it when all of the changes are finalised but that's very wearing for staff and I think what the rebrand did for us was that it injected some vital energy and when we developed the "Imagine what's possible" tagline and then we associated that with-- for an internal brand we had the "Team possible", everyone felt like, "This is something I can get behind." We're not just doing NDIS transformation, we're not just sort of in this weird space where we're transitioning from the old to the new, we're team possible, and it gave us something that we could hook into as a team and it really energised everyone at a time when we were going through some pretty hard graft.

SCOTT OXFORD 29:19.190 Yeah. Well, what I saw too and I love that. You told a great story at the time that you sort of-- after the brand had been launched, you walked past a group of people meeting together and they were wearing their team possible t-shirts but I think, "Come on guys, we can do this. We're team possible." In a way that just meant that they just owned it and as someone who writes this stuff as a living, to hear it cross over and transition. But then I watched the launch and I watched these brand heroes who seem to have, not just a new lease on life, but it's almost like they discovered a whole new level of who they were and they celebrated and they embraced it and they rose up and became and then led all of the fellow customers along this path as well. This is not just whacking a new logo on a business. This is actually transformative brand rising up and taking its place.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 30:24.771 Absolutely. And this is where it became such a tangible piece of our business, the brand, and everyone knew that it was a turning point. I think the day that we had the photo shoot where we were photographing a lot of our customers and I think the time that I worked in disability services, one of the big takeaways for me is how often people with an intellectual disability-- and there's a huge range, there's not just one type of intellectual disability at one degree. There's a huge range from mild to not mild but it's amazing how much people with an intellectual disability just get used to being spoken about as if they're not there and for this campaign, that's why it was so important that we put these guys front and centre. They were the stars. They were having their photograph taken. They were in the make-up chair. They were voicing their own TV ads and radio ads and they were appearing on the sides of buses and appearing in cinema ads and again, just the ripple effect from these guys and seeing what it also did for their families and having their children appear in these ads. And then we had other customers who maybe didn't actually participate in the advertising campaign but they could see their friends appearing and--

SCOTT OXFORD 31:52.253 Somebody like them or somebody that they knew.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 31:54.554 Yeah, and it just became this movement for us and the staff were so engaged and we really felt that we were a part of something and we were a part of change and I think that was just one of the most powerful things that we experienced throughout that whole process.

SCOTT OXFORD 32:10.709 Yeah. And to me, one of the things I'm most proud of is how honouring we were all able to be. We didn't dress anybody up or put them-- we absolutely-- what you see is them in their fullness, in their richness. And all we did was create a platform for them to rise up. And that's what people with disability generally, but especially intellectual disability, aren't given a platform. They're spoken about behind their back. So, yeah. It was a pretty amazing thing to be a part of. So tell me about a brand that you trust today. Obviously Jaguar's kind of by proxy for your Dad [laughter], and it's not necessarily a fit for you or your life. What does Brooke connect with? What's something that connects with you?

BROOKE CHAPMAN 33:01.859 Yeah. Sure. So as a 21-year-old I moved to London. And I think up until that point all I could cook was really beans on toast, and I probably couldn't even do that very well. And I think I'd been in London for two weeks and I walked into a bookstore and I bought my first ever cookbook, which was Happy Days with the Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver. And I now own probably a dozen Jamie Oliver cookbooks. And again, that trust. I trust Jamie Oliver. And it probably helps that we're a similar age group. And that first book that I bought taught me how to cook. I learnt how to cook in my tiny little flat in northwest London. But then I've sort of progressed with him through the years. And he has stayed in touch with his market. He knows what his market wants. If I pull out a turkey recipe for Christmas day from Jamie Oliver, I know that I'm not going to be sitting in the kitchen for six hours. Because he knows that we want to be out enjoying it with our family. I love that his sons are now getting involved. And my kids regularly will pull up on YouTube one of his sons, one of their recipes, and we'll cook it together. Covid hit, and he produced a fantastic series with just staples in your kitchen. Because we weren't going out and shopping anymore. And he's a brand that I trust and he's never steered me wrong. And I just think it's a-- and it has been a decades-long journey that I've followed him and gone to his restaurants and kept buying his books. And I still make his food every week. So I think that that's a brand that I trust in and he just understands what his customers want. And he's sort of stood the test of time whereas other sort of celebrity chefs have kind of come and gone, he's been a bit of a mainstay. So I think it's worked for him.

SCOTT OXFORD 34:58.428 Yeah. There was always something really affable about him. And he just had a relatability for me as a man who also found that I could open his cookbooks. And I, yeah, I married someone who cooks exceptionally. And so it's probably it was only opening his books and realising that I-- He made it accessible. He made it open. And for me as a man--

BROOKE CHAPMAN 35:20.264 Yeah. And I think if we go back to the days when he had a series on Channel 10 I think it was. But you could watch 30 minutes of his program and not be tempted to cook at all, and not be interested in cooking at all. But he was just entertaining. And I love people who are passionate and high energy. And he doesn't go over the top but he loves what he's doing. He's got-- he's tactile, he's just-- that man's found his purpose and that's really infectious. And I love that. And I think that that's what people are searching for is a little bit of that with brands, when they see that people are enjoying themselves or they've found a purpose. You want a piece of that magic. Because it's a sad fact that so many of us are sort of are left wanting in different areas of our lives so I think it is very-- you sort of catch that energy and it can be really powerful.

SCOTT OXFORD 36:12.216 Let's talk about purpose then, because there are a lot of brands out there who have a very strong sense of purpose and really sort of bring that to the table and then there are others who sort of just seem to exist. What do you think purpose-- what does that sort of change? Is that emotional connection? Is it something bigger than that?

BROOKE CHAPMAN 36:33.851 Yeah, I think with purpose, again, it's understanding what you're really good at and then how you can change people's life with what you offer. I make no bones about the fact that I sell services and I really enjoy that sell because it is complex and it's a long-term relationship and a long-term investment. I think sort of-- and full respect for marketers that work in product spaces because that's really challenging as well for different reasons, but I think for me, personally, selling volume for volume's sake would sort of kill me. I really love looking at the individual transactions and why someone comes to our business and the different reasons why they opt in or conversely opt out, and then what the journey looks like for them over time. I love sort of being able to check in with people over a long period of time. And so I think as a business you've got to understand are we someone that's just transactional, in which case, you want to make that transaction the best that you can and make sure that they come back again, but that's very different to when you've got a service that you're selling to someone and then you're going to have a relationship with these people ongoing for decades. And it's got to be about people then. It's got to be about-- in our case currently with RetireAustralia, we need to make sure that every person that we recruit into the business has the same values, that they get it, they get the purpose and you can-- we've got it down to a really fine art where you ask the questions and you can sort of tell whether there's a values-alignment or not, and if we don't have the right people with the right values, then our purpose is compromised. Again, it comes down to that-- people walking in and it just felt right. Well, that's because the receptionist said, "Hello," and showed you where to go and then the gardener pointed you in the right direction and--

SCOTT OXFORD 38:37.206 And it doesn't mean that you can't get that elsewhere. It just means that right here, right now, this feels right.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 38:42.946 This feels right and this is where I'm potentially going to live, and these are the people who are potentially going to care for me as my care needs increase. It's got to feel that. It's that gut feel that I'm going to be good here. Yeah. So that's our purpose that we've been developing at Retire-- we have developed at RetireAustralia and we're sort of positioning it through our marketing is just around a very clear set of values that you're going to experience when you're in our village, and as you experience a range of different emotions yourself, as life happens, the good and the bad and how we respond to that, it's all got to be aligned to the values.

SCOTT OXFORD 39:26.299 Yeah. Well, because your customers, like in most cases, are strong referrers, they have people their own age and that they would probably like to live in community with, so it needs to deliver on that, but it's also-- yeah, I can just tell-- I know that you're an organisation that actually-- it's just as important to deliver on the promise as it is to keep the customer. Do you know what I mean? And they're one and the same. You keep the customer because you deliver on the promise and give them what they need.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 39:54.150 Yeah. Absolutely. You can imagine if something goes wrong with delivering on the promise how uncomfortable that gets when you've got an unhappy resident living with you, so we've had to make that front and centre of our business in terms of keeping our customers happy and making sure we're very clear on what we offer when they come in, and then making sure that the reality lives up to that. Otherwise you wouldn't be able to create a sustainable business in this industry because it is a long journey. And, like you say, there's a strong referral network there.

SCOTT OXFORD 40:30.158 Yeah. And what you're essentially talking about there is that brand goes far beyond marketing. We're talking about their brand being an HR issue. Brand being a maintenance issue. It's basically communities living, breathing microcosms of brand. That means you need to have a CEO and a leadership team who get brand and the value of that.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 40:53.951 Absolutely. I remember when I was going through the interview process for the role I'm currently in, and I was sitting in reception and I was so surprised that-- I went in for two interviews. So the two different times I was sitting there probably four or five people passed me to go to the lifts that worked at RetireAustralia, and all of those sort of five people said to me-- and they have a receptionist, so I'd been looked after. But all five of them said to me, "Are you okay today? Do you need any help?" And I thought this-- that's something that is--

SCOTT OXFORD 41:27.130 It feel right. It's different.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 41:27.914 Yeah. And I now do that myself because you want to be a part of that. And that's the culture that we look after people. We want to make sure everyone's okay. You're welcome. We provide homes for people. So even though we're in head office, we're still very connected into that. So, yeah, brand infiltrates every area of the organisation. And the way that I speak to all of the different areas of our business, is that they all work in marketing. And it doesn't matter if we've got a crack team of marketers that are bringing high-quality leads in and are running fantastic campaigns, if people walk into the village and it's a bad feel, it's game over. So I rely on each and every member of the business, and so does my team, to be able to-- to exhibit those values and to share in that purpose.

SCOTT OXFORD 42:18.789 Yeah. I remember a CEO once said to me, in his opinion, that in any business it's every employee's responsibility to develop new business. What you're talking about there is actually just about being on brand. It's not about going out and selling. It's just making sure any interaction, any touch point, is on brand. Because the reality is, is that it's retirement. It's not just chosen by those who are going to live in a community. There's huge input from family. As we know, particularly one of the children will almost always play a role. And so there's a huge separate market there who are relating to your brand but in a different way.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 43:04.626 Absolutely. And it's all those things that you can't quite put your finger on. So when we have a couple or a single person coming in and take a look at one of our care apartments or one our independent living units, they're all looking for different things. So the mum or the dad is looking for something different. They might be looking for the activities or for the care or for the features of the actual unit themselves, at the staff. But then you look at the adult child, and they're looking for the peace of mind. These people are busy. They've got their own families. And the peace of mind they get from knowing that mum or dad or both are in a safe secure community-- particularly given recent times with coronavirus, that's been something that's been on everyone's mind. "Will mum and dad be looked after if I can't get there?" And if care needs increase or if there's a fall or-- that's all going through their mind. So you really need to make sure that you've got all of those-- you're hitting on all of those elements, but with a really lovely feeling as well.

SCOTT OXFORD 44:11.434 Yeah. Yeah. And again, when it's authentic when it's real, it's really easy to though because everybody's relating to the same brand. They're just possibly relating to a different side of it each time, so.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 44:22.043 Absolutely. Yeah.

SCOTT OXFORD 44:23.377 Yeah. Nice. Well, when I introduced you, I mentioned that you have a bit of a focus and passion on neuromarketing and, obviously, in my business as well, it's a pretty amazing idea of actually getting inside people's heads and how they really respond. Or maybe it's more inside their hearts, how they're having an emotive response to something rather than just answering a question on whether they like something or not. So that suggests to me that it's a huge part of brand too because subliminal messaging is so much about what happens in brand. How do you sort of see your marketing playing a role?

BROOKE CHAPMAN 45:05.704 Why do people do what they do? That fascinates me, personally. I'm a huge believer in research. I've always done a lot of research, market segmentation. I think that knowledge is power, and when you understand your market, you're that much more effective. But there's things that don't come off in research. There's nothing like just those candid moments that you get with customers. So in terms of neuromarketing, I am influenced by-- I listen to a lot of calls that come into our call centre. I also speak to a lot of sales consultants. And there's nothing like speaking to the actual customers themselves and finding out why they're choosing you or why they're not and all of those sort of morsels of information you can use to guide you moving forward. You do start to see some trends emerge. But to answer your question, as well, I think that neuromarketing is incredibly important, particularly when you've got, again, these sort of big life-changing decisions. There's a lot at play. There's a lot of unconscious bias that people don't even understand they're bringing in. A campaign that we've recently run, we've asked the question, "Do you know what you're saying no to?" because we get a lot of feedback that, "Ah. I'd never move into a retirement village. It's not for me." But then on the flip side, I speak to so many people who say to me, "Why didn't I do this 10 years ago." And they had a--

SCOTT OXFORD 46:39.115 Conflicted.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 46:39.711 Yeah. They had a view as to what the lifestyle was. And they had a bias. And some of these people even came in and had a look at the village but for whatever reason, it wasn't right at that time. And then they regret the decision later on. They wish they'd come in earlier. So I think that if we can understand the different conflicting emotions that are at play, some of the biases, then we'll be able to address that more and understand how we can educate people and maybe give them-- ultimately, you want people to be making the right decisions for them. But are we giving them the right information at the right time and in the right way to make that--

SCOTT OXFORD 47:17.995 To help them.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 47:18.016 --informed choice? Yeah. And sometimes it can be a small thing. It's just in how you position something. It's how you ask the question. It's how you sort of raise the topic. And, I think, all of that can make a big difference if you understand neurologically what's going on. So that's a big area of interest for me but it's something that I think in marketing it's still developing. And it will become, with AI technology becoming more prevalent, it's something that's just going to become a lot more popular and will hopefully be able to help us to be better marketers.

SCOTT OXFORD 47:51.294 Yeah. Absolutely. I remember the first time I had a colleague who had seen brain activity using a brain scan in terms of gauging people's actual responses. And it's probably a good moment to sort of pause for those who are listening who maybe have heard of neuromarketing but I'm no expert but the simple version is that it's the application of neuroscience to marketing and we have two systems, system one, system two. System two is the rational, explicit processing which is where traditional market research has asked you a question about whether you like something and you give a response. You consciously process that, you answer the question. System one has been out of our sort of understanding or out of our realm for a long time. So that's the implicit where we're actually finding out where you're having an emotional response, where you may not even be aware of it yourself but you are actually making a connection which is why when you're talking then, Brooke, about particularly big life-changing decisions, there's almost a strong ethical requirement on us to-- it's not a dark art or anything. We're not tapping into anything but we are connecting with someone on a very deep level. So we have an obligation, don't we?

BROOKE CHAPMAN 49:08.534 Yeah, absolutely. We're doing a piece of research at the moment and we're asking people how they view themselves. Do you view yourself as more of a pessimist or an optimist? Are you more of a worrier or are you more carefree? It's a very simple piece of research but we're just trying to get a gauge on the sort of traits that people see of themselves and how compatible that is with our product. And I think that it comes back to, I guess, what I was saying a little bit earlier; we owe it to ourselves to know as much as we can about our customers so that we can make sure that we're positioning a product that's right for them, we're solving a problem for them, and they're able to identify that and understand that. But I think that the neuro marketing space is going to be one to watch, for sure.

SCOTT OXFORD 50:01.095 Yeah, absolutely. I remember one of our really successful campaigns was based entirely on talking to people about the things they regretted about not choosing the service that we were campaigning [in?]. So it was basically six months later you signed up, you didn't go through with it, you went somewhere else, [inaudible] laughing about where you've gone but what are you missing? And those key pieces, at that point where they had had time, sure they were consciously answering it but they had become very, very aware of it where, at the time, it would not have held that same importance and so therefore it becomes this very powerful thing; didn't mean their lives were ruined or anything like that. It wasn't the end of that but it meant that when we campaigned specifically on those points and were able to kind of help people realise or just think again about what they were saying no to, that was where the magic sort of happened. And, yeah, the rest was history.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 51:00.598 And it can be a scary thing to do, right, like you're sort of almost raising that, "Yeah, this product or this service is not going to be for everyone." You're acknowledging that but you're trying to challenge people to see whether it is right for them. And I think that's maybe why more businesses don't do it is that you have to go a bit of an uncomfy place in terms of challenging what's not great about your product, identifying that, raising it, and then-- but that's the way that we get better, but you really need to be honest in the interactions that you have with your research groups to get that level of customer understanding where you can kind of understand, psychologically, what's at play in the decision. You have to get very honest.

SCOTT OXFORD 51:44.955 Yeah. I mean, it's like any of us, our careers, I guess, where you can hide from the things that you're uncomfortable with but the reality is the sooner you can tap into exactly what it is - and decide if you want to change or not and then respond to that - it's going to be so much better for you. But I find being a little bit older now I'm a little more comfortable with that. I think when I was younger, and I get this about businesses as that are just holding so firmly onto what they believe is what makes them sort of special or unique, that they actually lose sight of what it really is. I've had countless times where when I say, "What's distinctive about your brand?" they'll rattle off a number of characteristics that are all excellent characteristics, but they're all characteristics they share with every other player in the field. And to me, it's like how do you-- do you find it difficult, for example, to convince a leader that we're just not standing out? Present employer, of course, excluded. But do you ever find that, or does it depend on the leader?

BROOKE CHAPMAN 52:49.315 Yeah. Look, sometimes it can be challenging. There have been various times in my career where with a range of different stakeholders, you've had to sit down and go, "Look, these are our table stakes. This is what everyone's doing, okay? So they're not our strong suits, they're hygiene factors." And then if we think about what's the real difference? What makes us us as an organisation? And that's a hard-- particularly if you don't have a strong origin story, if you don't have a really strong history as to the organisation's come to be, that can be a really hard discussion to have. But you have to be able to hold the mirror up and be quite tough on yourselves. There's always things that you do better than your competitors. In every organisation, I haven't worked for a place where I haven't been able to find it. But you need to be honest. And I think sometimes what comes out of that discussion is well, there's things that you don't do so well and things that you need to change. If I do use RA as an example, we've just gone through-- we're going through a process at the moment of just updating a few things in terms of how we position ourselves. And it became quite clear to our team that we were really sprucing the property features and not so much the community aspect. And the fact that you're with likeminded residents and there's lots of activities and you won't be lonely and all of the health benefits in terms of the extra exercise you get when you're walking to the community centre every day. And all of these sorts of things, we weren't really selling those benefits, we were selling a two-bed brick and tile. And that's what everyone offers and that's a hygiene factor. Of course, it's a property purchase. The properties have got to be beautiful, they've got to be high-quality, they've got to be modern. But that is what is--

SCOTT OXFORD 54:44.316 But they're probably available everywhere.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 54:46.020 It's us and the village down the road, they're probably going to be quite similar. But it's the feeling when you walk in and the way that staff treat you and the comfort, the security, the connection. Having activities every day of the week if that's what you want. Having that opportunity. It's all of those types of things, the things that enrich your life that are important. And so we've just started focusing more on that and letting people know that that's what makes us unique and special.

SCOTT OXFORD 55:16.958 Yeah. I love nothing more than running a workshop with a brand where they have never been able to articulate what makes them special, and then you reveal it back to them. It's like Anh Do revealing the portrait back on his TV show where he's just painted you. And he's turning not just a mirror, but an interpretation that's like, "There I am. That's who we are. How did you work out who we are?" It's like, "Well, I kind of didn't work it out. I helped you work it out. We just ran a process here."

BROOKE CHAPMAN 55:47.059 I think you can get too close to it. And over time, leaders get so involved in what it is they sell and all the machinations of running a business and running their teams, that sometimes a bit of that sizzle and what really is the differentiator can get lost a little bit, so it's very important to have regular check-ins. And the other thing is that I think the differentiator-- it largely should stay the same, in terms of being a consistent thread through your business over time. But it does need updating, and it does need to remain relevant. So you need to keep revisiting and checking in on your vision, your mission, and your purpose and how that aligns with your broader business goals. And whether what you're putting out there, in a marketing sense, is really reflective of who you are, internally, as an organisation.

SCOTT OXFORD 56:42.830 I think that's a great point. So much marketing is done without any real conscious attention to brand, and so it's, "What's an idea? What can we try?" It's not founded in anything. And it's almost, to me, brand is the founding on which everything-- it's like the source of truth. Traditionally, those who see branding as being a logo or a style guide, well, as we know, that's one tiny part of it. But it does perform that function of being one source of truth, that visually this is what we-- but as we know, brand is much more than visuals. It's about the stories. It's about the way we behave. And it's even about the conversations that are happening around us. But if we don't absolutely know who that is, how can we expect our people, or any [of our activity?], when marketing takes brand and uses it in different ways?

BROOKE CHAPMAN 57:31.865 Yeah. I think what've you encapsulated there, around brand being so omnipresent throughout every area of the business, is a blessing and a curse. Because if you get it right, you really get it right. But I think that a lot of people don't understand brand, and they get overwhelmed by it. They don't think of it as-- they seem to think of it as this big, overarching concept, and it needs to be completely explained. But really, you just need to break it down into all of the interactions. How are we interacting with each other? With our people? With customers? With [referrers?]? With families? How are all of those interactions taking place? And how are we making sure that the values are being exhibited in every single one of those interactions? So I think that sometimes brand can be something that-- it's made out to be bigger than Ben-Hur in terms of how you tackle it. And really, you can go back to basics pretty easily. And it's always got to come from the leadership team and come from the top. But if the CEO and leadership team is very clear on who we are and what we do, it doesn't take long for that to filter down through the business. It doesn't always have to be something that is-- as marketers, we drive it, we safeguard it, we make sure that it's always on the agenda. That's our job to do that. But brand doesn't start and end with us. And that's one of-- that's a big bugbear for me is when I hear that, "Oh, well, that's marketing's area. I'm not going to buy into that conversation." Because the brand is everyone's business. As anyone will know when they're at a weekend barbeque and someone says something negative about the organisation where you work, it's never a good feeling. And it's your job to jump in there and stand up for the brand.

SCOTT OXFORD 59:19.737 Absolutely. Brooke Chapman, it's been an absolute pleasure. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your thoughts, and thanks for being a great client too.

BROOKE CHAPMAN 59:29.622 Oh, thank you, Scott. I've really enjoyed it.

SCOTT OXFORD 59:34.566 So yes, thanks for joining us today. If you enjoyed today's podcast, we would love you to jump on and subscribe. If there's someone you think I need to talk to, a Brooke, or a Kate, or somebody who needs to be interviewed by me on this topic of brand, please refer them to me and get in touch, or just ask a question on our website. And in the words of my famous fictional friend Don Draper, and especially relevant from our conversations today, "If you don't like what's being said, change the conversation." Brand is absolutely the conversations that we're all having. And if you don't get, who will?