Do you Care enough to change Care?

03/05/2017

I was recently invited to take part in a discussion group to review how the care sector could attract more people to the industry. The group was made up of care providers and professional associations, the event was hosted by a consumer marketing company.
I was pleased to be part of the discussion for two reasons, the first was the strategic marketing element of the session. This is close to my heart havng spent 20 years in marketing, so it was interesting to be back in a creative environment. The second reason, and more importantly, there is a real need to understand how we can best position the care sector as a career choice for individuals. This is a huge challenge, not least because the role of a Carer carries a weight of responsibility, the sector is relatively low paid and has suffered reputational damage over the years.
The communications company, from research undertaken, presented us with a number of ideas and messages that could be used to engage with out potential 'target audiences'. Whilst nicely thought out, and I could appreciate the thought process, the overall messaging, for me, didn't fit with the reality of the challenges we face when recruiting people. I also struggled to see the 'fluffy' messages, which were being proposed, havng the commercial impact we need, especially as the objective was to gauge whether care providers woul pay to use the campaign at a local level (and then hopefully benefit from the national awareness.)
As the session continued we explored words that may resonate with our audience, the usual suspects were put foward 'respected, valued, professional, rewarded' - all well and good and relevant in their own way but we are trying to give people 'reasons to believe', and in a sector that has been plagued by bad press - honesty and openess are where we should be positioning ourselves.
For me this means messages that we can believe and buy into, most of us are well aware that the health and social care sector is "broken" and "massively underfunded" the words of many industry professionals, and at "crisis point." Let's tell people that by working within this sector they are truly making a difference, enabling people to live independently at home, with dignity - and let's also tell them that our need is great. In essence 'Do you care enough to change care?' This is not the line we were pesented with but the one I feel more fully meets the brief.
Taking part in this excercise was really worthwhile, however our strategy remains the same. We recruit like minded individuals, those who we would have to care for ourselves and our families in our own homs. It doesn't matter to us whether individuals have experience or not, the starting point is - are they kind, compassionate and knowing that they're working in this sector for all the right reasons.