Chorus Voices Ep 4:
What’s in a brand?
Episode 4 of the Chorus Voices Podcast delves into the topic of branding through the journey of Chorus itself.
For-purpose veterans Dan Minchin and Louise Forster explore how to build a business that truly means something. Learn from their rich experience what it takes to breathe strong values and character into a brand that is consistent and relevant.
What is a Brand? – [0:00]
Dan and Louise start off by asking the big question: What is a brand?
The word brand is used constantly, and it means different things to different people. But one of the best definitions of brand is this:
“Brand is the way people talk about you when you’re not in the room.”
– Louise Forster
Insights From the Brand Forum in Sydney – [2:00]
Louise recently attended the Brand Forum in Sydney. It’s a global branding event which attracts companies from all around the world – including the likes of Google, Dreamworks and Facebook.
One of her favourite takeaways was the way Dreamworks leveraged audience engagement with their ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ movie series and franchise. Dreamworks did an incredible job of bringing customers into the experience, and they even co-created some content. Chorus is starting to embrace the idea of co-creation as well, offering input opportunities to community, clients, and all levels of staff.
Important Branding Takeaways
- Brands and companies must keep up with the fast pace of the digital world
- Brands can leverage digital media for powerful branding and engagement
- A brand must be consistent not with what its creators believe it to be, but what its customers believe it to be
- A brand must perform a balancing act: be consistent throughout, as well as be relevant locally
The Chorus Branding Story
In order to explain what it takes to build a great for-purpose brand, we’ve got to get specific. So let’s do that!
The rest of the episode explores how Chorus is meeting the challenges of branding – and what resounding effects the exercise has produced.
Branding Expert Richard Beards on Creating Chorus – [8:30]
We hear first from Richard Beards of creative and branding agency Rare. Richard reminisces about the experience of creating the Chorus brand:
“I’ve been doing this for more years than I care to mention, and you never stop learning… but [Chorus] was a real challenge. Merging three [brands] is never going to be easy… but when it’s three community care organisations, the challenge is amplified because people are so personally invested.
We realised very early on that everyone included in the process was …incredibly passionate about what [Chorus] would be called, and what it would stand for.
The process we adopted needed to be far more than just design and creativity, and more aligned to discovery and definition of common purpose.”
Despite the complexity, the great reveal of the Chorus brand was a resounding success.
“I’ve never felt such emotion at a brand launch.”
– Richard Beards
“Everyone is living the vision, the values and the purpose that we helped the team define. This is what it’s all about for us, and it’s what gets us out of bed every morning.”
– Richard Beards
Richard Beards (right) fondly remembers building the Chorus brand alongside host Louise Forster (left).
It Takes a Village – [8:30]
Over 1,000 people were involved in the formation of the Chorus brand. Staff, volunteers and customers were all part of it.
It was a complicated and organic process – and they cut it very fine (the name was settled only a few weeks left before the reveal) – but it worked perfectly in the end, and Chorus now has a brand that resonates throughout the organisation.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this in-depth branding experience is that when it comes to brand, communication is critical.
To build a powerful brand, you’ve got to communicate with leadership, staff, and the community. You must take the time to understand what your company means to these stakeholders. And you must understand and leverage the power of that meaning.
So What Has Been the Impact of Chorus’s Brand? – [18:20]
Craig works with Chorus Disability Employment Services and has noted a shift in the way people think about the brand. This new perception has been especially strong in job applicants and volunteers interested in working with Chorus.
“Previously we found it really hard to attract applicants from other organisations because we didn’t have the visibility we have now being Chorus.”
Louise followed up with new hires a few weeks in. She asked them what it was that attracted them to Chorus, and what stood out to them during the onboarding process.
The response was overwhelmingly that the company’s values were clear, and that those values resonated with the new hires. Honesty, transparency, and a strong sense of purpose were all highlights.
Some responses from new hires are recorded in the podcast – here are a few excerpts:
“On the short video that I saw about the company… empowering and respecting individuals and working as equals really appealed to me. It was something that talked to my values, not just about how we treat customers, but how we treat each other in the workplace.”
“Another thing that stood out was hearing that a community service company had taken so much time to build culture, and had been intentional about approaching external stakeholders to help them build culture and perform culture checks.”
What’s Next for the Chorus Brand – [18:20]
As Chorus continues to bloom and grow, what activities are Dan and Louise considering?
- Powerful storytelling – not big spending
- Radio Ads
- Signage Overhaul
- Content Marketing
- Further external partnerships
Brands that Stand Out – [18:20]
Louise and Dan each provide one brand that stands out as an example of success.
Louise’s Brand Pick: Country Road
“For some reason for the last decade or more, Country Road has been consistent and reliable for me. I don’t really enjoy shopping, but Country Road has been excellent. Their clothes are timeless, and in all their stores, they have attentive and non-pushy staff.”
– Louise Forster
Dan’s Brand Pick: Perth Fringe Festival
“Perth Fringe has come from nothing in 2010 to being the third largest Fringe in the world today. It’s a fun, lively even cartoonish set of imagery they use, and it captures a slightly fantastic type of feel that perfectly matches the feel when you walk into an event.”
“What I really love about the festival is what it has done for Perth. It’s bucked the stereotype of ‘cultural backwater’ and created something that’s really world class.”
– Dan Minchin
Bucking stereotypes is a value set that connects back to Chorus. Carving out something new is part of the vision the Chorus network shares. Where it will take the brand next can only be imagined, but with support from all sides, the outcome is guaranteed to thrive on the wisdom of a whole community.
Tune in For More Stories and Voices Next Time!
Stay tuned for the upcoming episodes of the Chorus Voices Podcast! We haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to the vital themes and ideas that matter in work, life, and community.
If you enjoyed this episode, please pop into Apple Podcasts and leave us a review! Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.
Mentioned in This Episode
Connect With Chorus