The CMO Show:
Fiona Le Brocq on brand...

Fiona Le Brocq, Senior Executive of Brand and Marketing at Medibank, sits down with host Mark Jones to discuss how to build brand relevance through authentic storytelling.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) recently revealed that with the rise of health insurance premiums, less than 50% of Australians now have basic hospital cover.

Australians questioning the value for money that private health insurance provides is seeing brands in the sector constantly challenged with the task of finding effective ways to communicate the benefits of the private health insurance, as well as their USP.

According to Fiona Le Brocq, Senior Executive of Brand and Marketing at Medibank, placing a strong focus on the member journey is paramount to building brand relevance.

“When I think about customer experience, I think about the brand experience, the customer experience and the user experience. You’re not just looking for a frictionless, seamless experience. You’re actually looking for ways to impact people,” Fiona says. 

“People care about their health, and the health of others. So when somebody becomes a member of Medibank we’ve looked very closely at the welcome journey to design some great brand experiences.”

Using data to identify the specific needs of their customers, Medibank introduced a service called ‘Medibank at Home’ offering its customers in-home care. The ‘What is better’ creative campaign brought attention to the service, acknowledged how Australians feel about private health, addressed the value of private health insurance, and shared some authentic Medibank member stories. 

“It became pretty clear that we could write scripts. We really challenged ourselves over whether these [would be] entirely genuine. You could fall into the trap of saying the things that you want to say. We have all these amazing customer stories. When people have health issues there is an inherent intimacy about health issues. Everybody’s story is different.”

Fiona says that this was a creative opportunity for the brand to listen and learn from their customers, and share their authentic real-life experiences.

“When we were looking at ‘chemo at home’, we wanted Australians to understand that we were working hard to improve the health system. So one of the stories we brought to life was Liam’s, a 21 year old kid who had lymphoma living in Perth who sat down with his dog Jack and just told his story,” Fiona says.

“This one with Liam was unscripted. So we have to allow ourselves to create quite an intimate production unit. We’re there for a few days in the family home, and we do a lot of filming. We explore a lot of areas. It does make the editing process pretty interesting because you’ve got a lot of material,” she says.

“We find the gems and weave them through to tell their genuine story, but in a way that helps people understand what’s available to them as a service.” 

Tune into this episode of The CMO Show to find out how Medibank is building brand relevance and how to nurture relationships with your customers through authentic storytelling.

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The CMO Show production team

Producer – Charlotte Goodwin & Natalie Cupac

Audio Engineers – Daniel Marr & Tom Henderson

Got an idea for an upcoming episode or want to be a guest on The CMO Show? We’d love to hear from you: cmoshow@filteredmedia.com.au.

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Transcript

Host: Mark Jones

Guest: Fiona Le Brocq

Mark Jones:

In times of great uncertainty, how can brands best support their customers? Well, the need for effective risk mitigation plans and an agile approach to operations grows during a crisis. So, too, does the need for the marketing activities to communicate how the brand is adapting to change, allay customer fears, and instil confidence. There is no time more pertinent than now to use the power of authentic storytelling to get your message across.

Mark Jones:

Welcome back to the CMO Show. I am your host, Mark Jones, and I want to thank you for joining me. This past week we celebrated the fifth birthday of the CMO Show podcast. Can you believe it? Five years. It’s amazing. We’ve had so many awesome guests and conversations on the show over the years, and today is no different. Now, before I go to the interview with Fiona Le Brocq, it’s also worth saying that when we recorded this interview, it was before of course coronavirus, the COVID-19 pandemic, really had taken off. And so, one thing I wanted to add and make a suggestion if I may, which is that when these things come, one of our first reactions is actually to withdraw. And of course, from a socially distancing perspective, withdrawing is appropriate.

Mark Jones:

But from a marketing and a customer engagement point of view, I want to suggest that now is actually the best time to be reaching out to our customers. How can you as a brand, as an organisation, as a company, how can you be proactive? How can you be generous? How can you think, “What are my customers experiencing right now and what can I do to help them?” What can you give rather than what can I take? So, with that said, let’s go to my interview with Fiona Le Brocq, Senior Executive of Brand and Marketing at Medibank.

Mark Jones:

Fiona Le Brocq. She is Senior Executive of Brand and Marketing at Medibank. Thanks for joining us Fiona.

Fiona Le Brocq:

Thank you Mark.

Mark Jones:

Now, you’ve got an interesting background actually in the agency game and then you’ve come through of course in different roles in corporate. I want to just get a sense of what impact has that had on you in terms of being able to bring the bigger creative perspective that comes from agency world when you get to a place like Medibank?

Fiona Le Brocq:

Yeah, it is an interesting background. The discussions that I have with people about this is that I think creativity is something that’s really difficult to nurture often in corporate environments. So I think if you come in with a perspective that a creative idea can really make or break people’s relationships with a brand, then you have a pretty clear purpose. I think for me, like I grew up in DDB, JWT, M&C Saatchi. When I went to corporate it was quite a rude shock. It’s quite a different cut type of environment and I think it took me a couple of years really to work out.

Fiona Le Brocq:

At the time I was head of brand, so I was clearly a brand marketer. But when you get into client side, it’s a much bigger world than you can imagine. So it takes a little while for you to learn how to operate in corporate environments and how to maintain that creative focus and I think it’s how valuable that is and when you can bring that into an organisation and it begins to get appreciated, then you’re actually really able to do something special.

Mark Jones:

So how did you deal with the culture shock?

Fiona Le Brocq:

Oh gosh. I think I really relied as I usually do on building relationships with people to understand it. I found there were layers and layers. I went to NAB. At the time I was at a smaller agency called Spinach. Spinach was about 30 people and I went to an organisation of 44,000 people at the time. So it was difficult and it was interesting and I was on a very steep learning curve for the first couple of years.

Fiona Le Brocq:

And in fact, when I left NAB, I was looking for something that gave me a happy medium between agency land and corporate life because the two that I’ve been in were so vastly different, and that was when I landed at SEEK.

Mark Jones:

It’s interesting when we think about this move from the creative agency world into corporate, how do you not lose a sense of personal focus? The things that really drive you. It’s very easy to get sucked up in a different culture.

Fiona Le Brocq:

Look, I think when I moved to NAB, I built a very strong relationship with the agency and I think that was one of the ways that I did this. Our agency was Clemenger BBDO and because that was a culture that I was very used to, I worked very closely with them to try to understand what the opportunities were for the brand. NAB was going through a pretty interesting time as banks often usually are. At the time we had a new positioning of more give, less take. And really navigating the first 12 months was trying to get us to a stage where we could do something reasonably brave.

Fiona Le Brocq:

We ran some campaigns that were very acceptable, they lifted the indicators as they should slightly. And I think we built some trust internally and that gave us an opportunity to then say what we’re doing is not enough, we actually have to do something quite dramatically. So I really relied on the agency relationship and also within my team to strengthen that relationship. I really am a very big believer that that is inherently one of the most important partnerships that you have in marketing. 

Mark Jones:

That was of course the breakup campaign time. Right?

Fiona Le Brocq:

That was.

Mark Jones:

Yeah. And it’s interesting, some marketers tend to be data driven and interested in the outcomes and others tend to be more brand oriented. What focus do you give to the results that you can show people internally in big presentations versus those bigger brand ideas and obviously you’ve got a strong creative background there.

Fiona Le Brocq:

I think the three brands that I’ve worked for, so NAB, SEEK and now Medibank, they’re all very numerous environments. So I think that you can be a brand marketer, but you still have to be a data driven brand marketer. So long before the days of digital where we could get our hands on billions of numbers every minute, you still have the fundamental data that you draw on the performance of the brand. So you’re going to be looking at awareness, you’re going to be looking at salience, and they’re the indicators that you’re obviously trying to shift because you’re building equity in the brand. One of the things when I was at NAB was that NAB was number four preference. We had to be quite careful about when we stimulated the market because if we were trying to activate the market we needed to get our fair share and at number four, that probably wasn’t going to happen.

Fiona Le Brocq:

So a big focus was shifting our preference. The breakup campaign was actually to create some disruption in order to do that and then follow on with stimulating the market so we could pick up our share. So I think that data, regardless of what area of marketing you’re working in, it’s absolutely critical. You have to know how you’re performing, you have to know what’s changing, you have to know how you’re sitting relative to your competitors, you have to know if you’re getting your fair share of the game. So they’re not separate. I think they’re inextricably linked.

Mark Jones:

That’s a good point. Well, if we switch our focus to Medibank, of course it’s not a small team is it? I understand, it’s quite a large team, 100 people or so, is that right?

Fiona Le Brocq:

Yeah. We have about 100 people.

Mark Jones:

Firstly, how do you manage all those people?

Fiona Le Brocq:

I like the buzz, I like people enjoying work. Some of the areas they obviously prefer to work in some quiet, I like things to be a little noisy and a little informal. In terms of having 100 people, something we’ve worked hard to get right and it’s taken us a little while is when we bring everyone together. Very often in these types of environments, you’ll have something that’s often called a town hall, which is really a monthly get together. You get everyone together to share what you’re doing and do some coaching, see some ads, do a bunch of things. And it’s taken us a while, we’ve got those right. I actually pass those on to different teams and they actually run those sessions. But one thing we’ve done that really helps is we do an all hands session every Thursday morning. 

Fiona Le Brocq:

It’s a lot of fun, it’s a big sharing session and I think when you’ve got a big team like that, they really like to feel connected. They want to know what’s going on, they want to know what other people are doing and they want to be able to share what they’re doing. 

Mark Jones:

Yeah, that’s excellent. My question then would be, what does it take to lead a team of marketers? You are almost like the marketers’ marketer.

Fiona Le Brocq:

So I have seven people reporting in to me. I think that as a single leader I probably wouldn’t achieve a lot. So we’re called the brand and marketing leadership team, as a collective it makes it a lot easier. I think that you need to show who you are as a person.

Fiona Le Brocq:

And if you do that, people are going to feel that they trust you, that they understand you and they’re therefore prepared to listen. So for the first instance, that’s going to be really important. The second part would be making it really clear what the vision is. Where are we going? Why do we want to go there and how do we get there? So there’s lots of new ways of creating a strategic framework these days, but those questions fundamentally remain the same.

Fiona Le Brocq:

Medibank, we’re probably … as brands and companies do, you tend to evolve inside out. So internally we really think of ourselves as a health and wellbeing organisation. That change is yet to occur externally. Probably about 20% of Australians consider us a health organisation, the rest still think of us as a health insurance organisation. And so culturally we tend to attract a lot of people who are really interested in health and it’s the broad spectrum of health. It’s both the deficit area where you’re helping people with primary care when they’re sick and it’s the preventative area where you’re looking at positive health improvement. So the culture that we work in are people who really care about their health and care about other people’s health. So from a leadership perspective, it’s really important that we bring that to life with the whole team, and they really bind to the purpose. So I think that that’s my job made a little bit easier to be honest.

Mark Jones:

Yeah, great.

Fiona Le Brocq:

If the purpose exists, I paint the vision and collectively we work out how we’re going to get there.

Mark Jones:

Excellent. Now, it’s no great secret to anyone that when you do get large teams like this, inevitably you get silos and specialty areas.

Fiona Le Brocq:

Yeah.

Mark Jones:

How do you allow individual skills and specialists areas to flourish, but at the same time keep everybody moving in the same direction in this integrated marketing and communications function? 

Fiona Le Brocq:

Yeah, it’s complex, isn’t it? As humans, we like connecting with like-minded people. So people quite naturally gravitate towards something that’s familiar or similar and I think we’ve tended to create functions around that. When we looked at how we were organised a couple of years ago, it became clear that we had to run cross functional teams. And the reason we had to do it is because we would get a brief on a new proposition going to market. And if you ask a specialist, how are they going to take it to market? They’re usually going to answer in their area of specialisation. It’s like having a bad back. If you ask a physio who you should go to, they’re going to say a physio. If you ask a chiro they’ll say chiro.

Mark Jones:

Yeah.

Fiona Le Brocq:

So I think it’s really important that you have collaborative thinking upfront. So we started to work in quite informal squads where we had a number of disciplines. For example, if you’re preparing a campaign to go to members, you actually need a number of people, you need a campaign manager, you need a customer analyst to draw the audience, you need an automation specialist to build it and send it and you need an analyst to manage the evaluation and reporting.

Fiona Le Brocq:

It’s kind of better when those guys work together instead of it going from one function to another. So we started to do that informally and more recently, the division I work in, which is the whole of the customer facing division for Medibank is referred to as customer and portfolio. And more recently we’ve begun to organise ourselves into larger squads. And we’re doing that because as many organisations are, is to actually remove the hierarchy, empower people to make decisions.

Fiona Le Brocq:

So we have an acquisition squad and that acquisition squad conflicts, it can be small or large depending on what business issues we’re facing into. I would say that we are evolving and we’re working hard to break down the functional silos. I think this is the reason why it’s so important for me to get everyone together in marketing because if they don’t know who each other is, then they’re hardly going to seek each other out. So we do quite a lot of social stuff as well so everybody knows who’s who, and we make sure that when we’ve got a project that we pull in all the people through somebody who’s managing the go to market view, pull everyone in together to have a discussion.

Mark Jones:

Now that makes a lot of sense.

Mark Jones:

Well look, we’ve had a really good set up if you like, of looking at all the details. If we can now think a little bit more macro, I wanted to understand this big picture narrative, which of course anyone who’s getting anywhere close to the media will know that private health insurance has come under pressure. People are actively and openly questioning the value of private health insurance. So clearly that’s an important narrative that we need to be aware of from a brand and a marketing perspective. How are you thinking about that issue or any other primary big business challenges that you’re facing and what’s your view, your window as to how you’re approaching that through all of the various activities that you’re currently involved in?

Fiona Le Brocq:

Yes, so the macro issues are interesting. We are operating in an environment where cost of living is the huge focus for all of us, for all people. Some obviously more than others. And when you’ve got pressure on cost of living then people start to look at what they can afford. Part of the pressure is that we are only part of the health system, we don’t control the health system. So we have to focus on the stuff that we can control and influence the stuff that we can’t control. So for example one of the key issues at the moment is the increase in the cost of prosthetics. So when you get a hip joint replacement, you have to actually buy the hip. And private hospitals spend a whole lot more than public hospitals. They’re charge more, which seems to be very unfair. So we have to influence peak bodies, we have to influence the government because that’s one of the ways we can address affordability.

Fiona Le Brocq:

But some of the other ways that we look at it is to think of people’s whole of health. So for example, when somebody goes to hospital, we want to make sure that they’re supported. So we have a service called Health Concierge. We ring them before they go to see if we can prepare them. We provide them with information to support them and when they come out, we also follow up to ensure that they’re doing everything they can to recover.

Fiona Le Brocq:

So we’ve created a service called Medibank at Home, and that service is intended to give customers a choice. So what it means is they can choose to have rehabilitation in hospital and in the cases where it’s appropriate, they can choose to have rehabilitation at home. We’re piloting a number of things. We have chemo at home, dialysis at home and palliative at home. So we’re looking to create services where people can A, get more value out of their health insurance because those services don’t cost anymore, they’re just included in your health insurance so people can actually build the value that they’re getting. But in terms of the impact then on how customers are engaging with us, there’s a couple of ways in on this. One thing we did two years ago, we launched a platform which we refer to as “What is better.”

Fiona Le Brocq:

And what is better, we were originally going to go to market and talk about, as you would, positioning that we were better than other propositions that were out in the market. But we actually stood back and said you know what, as an industry, less than 50% of people have private health insurance. So we’re going to acknowledge that truth. We’re going to say that private health insurance isn’t for everybody and that we accept that because we work in a health system that is a symbiotic relationship. So the private health insurance actually supports the public health system. So I think just acknowledging that truth and understanding it and reflecting that that’s how Australians feel about private health insurance was quite important to position us genuinely.

Mark Jones:

And I think, just to jump in, if you’re going out to market and saying “we’re better,” maybe 50% of the audience would say, “don’t care”.

Fiona Le Brocq:

Correct.

Mark Jones:

So what are the fundamental beliefs that people have about the value of your services? And quite clearly you’re up against that and you’ve got to acknowledge this and really key insights driving your whole approach here.

Fiona Le Brocq:

Yes, that’s right. So if we think about a younger cohort and they’re the ones who are tending to really think about do they need health insurance? In the first instance, you’ve got to understand why they’re thinking, what they’re thinking. It’s completely valid. Younger people are typically going to have less health episodes than somebody who is older. And in many cases what they want to pay for is the basics. It’s only what they need. As a category, tax has been a very big driver for that audience. From a whole of company perspective, we have two brands, we have Medibank and ahm. And ahm is our brand that we’ve positioned specifically for that audience. So we create products that are meeting their needs in that there are some very basic products, they only pay for what they need.

Fiona Le Brocq:

So that’s one way of doing it because it’s more relevant. But what the Medibank brand has to focus on is building relevance with that audience. A way of doing that is to look at whole of health, which is not just your physical health, but also your psychological health and your emotional wellbeing. So we do have to work hard in order for us to position ourselves as being relevant. And a big focus for us moving forward is obviously going to be on the psychological health aspect and particularly in preventative health. And then the issues vary really depending on the segment. While health is quite inherently attached to your life stage, there are many other factors that come into play as well.

Mark Jones:

Okay. I really appreciate that perspective and particularly looking at what you can control and what you can’t control, I think that’s a really important strategic insight and also a driver for making better decisions. If I look at your new Live Better campaign, quite clearly you’re looking at the prevention side of the ledger, and how you ostensibly encourage more people to well, live a better life, go to the gym and so forth. It strikes me that also one of the challenges that you face is now you’re competing with gyms and health food influencers I mean, there’s lots of noise out there about how to live a better life, How do you get the right cut through with a message like that? How do you make sure that people understand what you’re talking about from perhaps a more holistic perspective?

Fiona Le Brocq:

Well, it’s a fairly new area for us. I might use the example of how we went to market because I think we’re learning. First of all I’d say we’re not competing. We certainly are in terms of mind space.

Fiona Le Brocq:

And I think part of our role is to provide advice and guidance. So whatever people need that we can support them with something that has this clinical evidence behind it and that we’re a trusted source to provide that information. But interestingly, when we launched Live Better last July, this kind of harks back to your question too about when you come from agency side, one of the things that we tapped into was that parents and particularly mothers tend to be quite selfless. And what we wanted to encourage them to do was to take care of themselves because when they take care of themselves, they’re obviously healthier for themselves and for their family.

Mark Jones:

Yes.

Fiona Le Brocq:

Look, we got some terrific response where you’ve shifted the needles, which was helpful. But there was a bit of feedback and it was a very small volume, but I think it said something quite important. Part of the small volume was from people who were a little angry that it made them feel guilty. And when you go back to agency days, one of the things that you always focus on is the consumer truth, and the truth is what people think very often. So it can be their perception as opposed to what you see as a kind of a logical truth.

Fiona Le Brocq:

And I think it is that in this case for simplicity, again, just to talk to mothers, they know all the things that they can do and could do and should do, and very often don’t. And many of them feel guilty about that. But I think we need to go a little deeper because if we’re going to really support people in helping them live better so they have a better quality of life, then I think we need to understand who they are as people and provide what’s most helpful for them at the time that it’s most helpful for them. So it was a good learning.

Mark Jones:

And I think that’s actually a fascinating insight because if you think about it from a strategy perspective, what you’re saying is that Medibank as a brand needs to be perceived as being empathetic to the real world issues faced by mothers in your example there. My question to you is when we’re telling these stories, when we’re shaping a narrative which says my brand is empathetic and emotionally we’re connecting with you at some level here. What are the sorts of storytelling approaches that best gets that done, how do you do that in a way that resonates to get the outcomes you’re looking for?

Fiona Le Brocq:

So I think we go really back to basics on that. Probably the two best examples I can give is how the stories were brought to life about Liam, first of all, with chemo at home and more recently with Ken, with rehab at home. When you’re going through a process of what’s your strategy? How are you going to be positioning the brand? What do you need to do? What does the brief look like? You go through the thinking process. It became pretty clear that we could write scripts. But, we really challenged ourselves over whether these were entirely genuine. You could fall into the trap of saying the things that you want to say. But what became I think quite valuable was saying, do you know what? We have all these stories. We have all these amazing customer stories. When people have health issues there is an inherent intimacy about health issues. Everybody’s story is different.

Fiona Le Brocq:

So we went to our customers essentially. When we were looking at chemo at home, it was actually only a pilot at the time. We did spend quite a bit of time talking about should we go to market with this because it’s not available as a service to people, but we wanted Australians to understand where we were heading and what we were thinking about and how we were working hard to improve the health system. And we went to our customers who were currently using chemo at home and we found Liam. He’s a 21 year old kid who had lymphoma living in Perth. And we approached his parents and said, “We’re looking to communicate what we’re doing here, are you interested?”

Fiona Le Brocq:

And she said, “God, I am so interested.” She said, “When I heard that Liam had his diagnosis. In the first 24 to 48 hours,” she said, “All I was doing was trying to inform myself and search for ways to help him.”

Mark Jones:

Of course.

Fiona Le Brocq:

And as parents we know that that’s what we’re trying to do. Anyway, she did a lot of research and somehow dug down to find this pilot’s because we weren’t communicating it then. And fortunately it was really appropriate for Liam to do it, to have chemo at home. His mom used to have to take a day off work to take him to the hospital. So we approached them and said, “Would you be happy telling your story?” And they all said, “We’d love to tell the story because this is actually … our family has been able to do it together. It wasn’t Liam on his own sitting in a chair in a hospital. He was at home.” The nurse who came to give him his chemo knew the family.

Fiona Le Brocq:

And funnily enough, when we were looking at scripts, somebody wrote a script that included a dog, this was before we got to real people. And as it happens when we started to meet Liam, he had his dog Jack with him the whole time. So that’s how Jack ended up featuring in what was an unscripted story. It totally came together in the filming, and Liam just told his story.

BREAKOUT – LIAM’s STORY

Mark Jones:

Fantastic. So less scripted and more give us some material to work with.

Fiona Le Brocq:

Well, not at all scripted in fact. We’ve worked for some time and I think this is where the trust in agency comes. Four years ago when we did i am better, it was completely unscripted. We sent a documentary director out into family homes. This one with Liam was unscripted and Ken was unscripted. So what we have to allow ourselves is we create quite an intimate production unit. So we only had one person who actually went to the shoot with Ken recently. We’re there for a few days in the family home, and we do a lot of filming. We explore a lot of areas. It does make the editing process pretty interesting because you’ve got a lot of material.

Mark Jones:

Yeah you do.

Fiona Le Brocq:

We find the gems and you weave those through to tell their genuine story but in a way that helps people understand what’s available as a service.

Mark Jones:

Yeah. Looking into the future, how important is it to you that this becomes a routine, a regular part of your marketing executions? How do you elevate this concept of telling a story as a brand in much the way that documentary makers or even publications and media would traditionally approach it? 

Fiona Le Brocq:

So I think it requires discipline. We started to do this a few years ago and I think we probably weren’t as disciplined as we could have been and we’ve applied a lot more discipline in the last 12 months because there was … we’ve stayed with real people, but there was enormous value in the storytelling. In fact what we see, obviously because it’s got enormous reach, is usually what’s run on TV. But we have a partnership as part of our community partners, we work with parkrun. And the reason we work with parkrun is to support them to accelerate their growth because they’re doing something important in the community to improve people’s quality of life.

Fiona Le Brocq:

So with parkrun, for example, we have a hero of the month. We choose somebody every month and tell their personal story. It’s presented in a number of different ways, sometimes it’s on film. 

Fiona Le Brocq:

We’ve been telling those stories for quite a while. We do a lot of it on social. We do a lot of it through the parkrun channels. I think we have learned the value of discipline and we’re actually now building our story armoury, if you like.

Fiona Le Brocq:

So I think in all the channels where we are, in all our Live Better communications, the stories are now being more embedded. We have both magazine, still magazine. We also have a lot of digital and we’re beginning to build an incredible warehouse of these stories.

Mark Jones:

Well, speaking of which, you mentioned the magazine I know that you also have a podcast that carried some of these stories. We’ve also had many other brands over the years that produce their own self-titled magazines and finding different ways of, housing this content in a more traditional editorial focus. And interestingly enough, I’ve observed over the last couple of years, a lot of brands actually moving away from that and saying, no, no, we don’t want to sacrifice the master brand. We don’t want Medibank, in your case, for example, to be ignored or forgotten or pushed aside by a content brand. And there’s an interesting tension going on there. What are your thoughts?

Fiona Le Brocq:

I think a brand is the entity that you have the relationship with. So I tend not to think about it as a content brand. I think one of the things that we’ve changed over the last couple of years is we used to have a content strategy. And the content strategy was essentially three concentric circles and the outer layer was at lifestyle and the middle layer was health and the inner layer was health insurance. And we used to plug that content into particular channels. A lot was driven by the channel at the time. And we’ve changed quite dramatically now where our content strategy is actually driven by the journeys. So when we look at, for example, the going to hospital journey, the question is what content does a customer need at that particular point in time and how do we best deliver it to them?

Fiona Le Brocq:

And the delivery is less determined by us and much more now determined by our customers particularly with permissions these days. The choice is really theirs how we deliver this content. I mentioned that we have a magazine and we’ve talked about … because it has a relatively low circulation. But the purpose of that magazine is for a different audience. Content is a way that we help deliver advice and guidance to our customers in the way that they want to receive it when they want to receive it. 

Mark Jones:

It kind of aligns with a lot of what I’ve observed and seen in practise, which is if you’re going to be customer-centric or member-centric in your case, how can I make sure that I’m providing the information that will be of most use to them in any channel at any time on their terms. So the emphasis shifts from I have a content brand that I’m trying to build and maintain to basically agnostic to channel. Of course the flip side to that is that it becomes more complicated because you’re now studying multiple pathways and those pathways aren’t always adhered to, they aren’t particularly well-known a lot of the time. So it seems to be two sides of a coin if you have, a more defined box that you play in and obviously there’s less complexity. So an interesting dilemma, I think, that a lot of people are really kind of wrestling with.

Fiona Le Brocq:

Well, look, to be really honest, when the team came to me and said this is how we’re thinking about content, because I was actually saying I think we need to be really clear about the content strategy. This is where we were. How are we looking at it now? They came back to me and said, “We’re really changing the way that we do this.” Our journeys sit in what we call life cycle marketing. And life cycle is three health states essentially, because we’re speaking to our members and customers about their health more broadly, the first thing is to understand what their health state is. Then we look at the different life cycle within those states.

Fiona Le Brocq:

And when they said to me this is the way we’re considering it, so rather than us just creating bucket loads of content and frankly who’s got the money, we actually want to be far more pointed about it and say, do you know what? There is this moment here, we just don’t have anything adequate that helps them understand what’s going on or what decisions they need to make or what their choices are. So that’s how we’re looking at it now.

Mark Jones:

I like it. One additional element I’d ask is in that moment that you’re describing, how well do you understand or think about what do they believe about our brand or our ability to provide services or value to them? How do you bring in that brand perspective that says they may actually be quite cynical about our ability to be the authentic or even trusted source of information on this when there’s so many other things. How do you shape the content in that context?

Fiona Le Brocq:

That’s an interesting question. I think you can’t do it in one hit. I think it’s actually the relationship that we have with our members, our customers is also a journey. If you think about for example, we have core programmes that we run. So one of them is we send an activity statement out to our members on a quarterly basis that says to them … these are people who have extras and we say, “Here’s what your limits are. This is what you’ve spent.” So it actually tells them what’s left for them to spend. And we say, “Here is some things the ways you can use it. You can go to a Member’s Choice to get a dental checkup.” So we recommend ways they can use their cover. I think that’s quite surprising for insurance companies to do that.

Fiona Le Brocq:

I think a lot of people would think that “they would prefer that I didn’t use it.” We think the opposite. And we think the opposite because we want customers to get a return on their investment and we want them to feel it’s valuable. 

Fiona Le Brocq:

I think it’s really in the demonstration of what you’re doing that surprises them. One of the things, this is probably, I’d almost call it old fashioned. When I think about customer experience, I think about brand experience, customer experience and user experience. There is massive overlap with all of those. But the thing is you’re not just looking for a frictionless, seamless experience. You’re actually looking for ways to impact people. And some of the ways we look to do this, to demonstrate that we’re more than what you think we are is by designing some great brand experiences. So they would be the things that are unique at a point in time when somebody is feeling something quite strongly. So when somebody becomes a member of Medibank we’ve looked very closely at the welcome journey.

Fiona Le Brocq:

So when somebody in Camberwell joins, they now get a letter from one of our consultants at the Camberwell store and they say, “Hi, it’s Linda here. I’m glad to have you on board. Hey, here are some of the things I do in the community. There’s a parkrun that’s run here on Saturday at 8:00 AM. We’ve got a session here on teaching kids how to cook. And there’s also something that happens at the community hall on a Thursday night, a group get together and sing.” They’re the types of things, because we want people to look at this and go, “I wasn’t expecting that from my health insurer. It makes me feel really positive about what I’ve just bought.” So they’re the ways that we try to do it and yeah, we’re exploring lots of ways of doing it.

Mark Jones:

We’ll look, we’ve had a fantastic conversation. I’ve really, really enjoyed speaking with you and we’ve covered a lot of ground by the way. So thank you for being so generous with your insights, with sharing your story with us. I really appreciate it and all the best as you lead your team into the bold customer-centric future.

Fiona Le Brocq:

Thank you, Mark. I’ve really enjoyed it. Appreciate your time.

Mark Jones:

So there we have it, Fiona Le Brocq, Senior Executive of Brand and Marketing at Medibank, there with some fantastic points on leadership in marketing, brand relevance, and of course, storytelling. I really loved her take on what it means to be a good leader and that remaining authentic and establishing a culture of care is vital for your brand to succeed. Now, on the topic of storytelling, my favourite topic, of course, I loved that she admitted that some of Medibank’s most compelling video content was largely or completely unscripted, and was just about letting the raw emotion come through and framing the story around it. A good tip there. So, I hope you enjoyed the conversation with Fiona as much as I did. Let us know who else you’d like to hear on the show. You can send us a suggestion to the team at thecmoshow@filteredmedia.com.au. Till next time.

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