What ResMed is doing to address Australia's sleep crisis

Rebrand, marketing campaigns and an overhaul of its omni-channel approach are all part of the company's efforts to tackle Australia's sleep-related health issues

With more than 3000 people dying as a result of sleep-related issues each year, it’s clear Australia’s sleep health needs to be put in the spotlight. And that’s exactly what ResMed hopes to do with a rebrand, omni-channel investment plan and its largest marketing campaign to date.

ResMed is a 30-year old business and pioneer in sleep health, producing a range of products to help tackle sleep issues. The group sells its wares via a distribution network as well as through branded retail stores, clinics and its website.

But with statistics showing more and more Australians are suffering from sleep-related issues, the company knew it was time to do things differently.

“One recent study showed nearly 85 per cent of people with sleep apnoea don’t know they have it. That statistic hasn’t changed over the years,” ResMed general manager for Australia and New Zealand, Catherine Delamare, told CMO. “When we see that, it means we have to do something different to reach more people.

“We also did a recent survey showing almost half of Australians have trouble sleeping three or more nights per week. There’s a huge need that’s staggering. A recent parliamentary report also recommended making sleep health a national priority.

“So we’re trying to get the message out there that sleep health is as important as exercise, or what you are eating and your nutrition – people think about these things, but they’re not thinking about sleep in the same way.”  

To do this, ResMed A/NZ is making a conscious effort to shift from a manufacturing mindset and product-driven emphasis, to a consumer-focused mindset driven by awareness and outcomes.

“As a manufacturer, we would focus on the product at the end of the journey; now we’re realising if we are going to change things, we need to be at the beginning of people’s journeys,” Delamare said.

“People are busy and time poor – you can put your sleep and health on the back burner. We are trying to make it easier for people to get help.

“Different people also want different things, so we’re increasingly trying to reach more people in the way they want to be reached.”  

ResMed’s new direction has three key elements: An awareness campaign aimed at getting consumers to pay more attention to their sleep health; a new on-line ‘pathway’ to complement an existing retail and clinic network, and a rebrand and re-fit of the company’s owned sleep health centres.

For example, Delamare pointed out ResMed’s consumer care centres have been transformed with sleep coaches, enabling people to come into a store and be coached on their sleep. Similar services are also offered online and over the phone.

Another step is consolidating its portfolio of brands, a legacy from ResMed’s acquisition of several companies in recent years. These include online distributor, CPAP Australia, and sleep clinic providers, MCS and Sleep Remedy. From September, began being rebranded under the ResMed family, along with 12 company-owned ResSleep sleep health clinic locations. Work is expected to be completed by January 2020. In addition, ResMed is refitting several of its 42 A/NZ stores to ensure they’re more lifestyle-based environments and decor.

Delamare also noted heavy investment online including online booking functionality, fresh payment options, and online sleep assessments allowing easier diagnosis or self-screening of sleep apnea. The new-look website debuted in August. ResMed also brought two mobile apps to Australia in the past year: The sleep tracking app, ‘myAir’, and 'myNight', a snore-recording app that reflects ResMed's more recent focus on helping people in the earlier stages of their sleep health journey.

The company uses BigCommerce on the ecommerce part of the online pathway for which resmed.com.au is the starting point, and HubSpot for the website.

Marketing innovation

In early October, ResMed then embarked on a brand campaign, its largest-ever marketing investment. The ‘Awaken your best’ campaign includes TVCs, digital, social media and out-of-home advertising, along with PR elements, and is about raising awareness of sleep issues pervading our population, as well as of the ResMed brand.

“Having been direct-to-consumer for the last five years, we have learnt a lot. Being able to talk directly to customers and understanding their journey and how different it has been, has been key,” Delamare commented. “Many tell us they fell out of the system 10-20 years ago. They have come back but it’s been a long, terrible journey to do that. Having direct contact and understanding what people are going through has driven this change.”

ResMed’s most recent initiative was its first event activation at the Presidents Cup golfing tournament in Melbourne in December. Delamare said the company chose the event because golf is both a mind game as well as physical one. Key to engagement was talking to volunteers and fans about the importance of sleep as the ‘third-pillar health’ alongside diet and exercise.

“Also, it’s about breaking out of the stigma that people who have sleep issues are sick,” she said. “It’s this message we’re trying to put out there with the ‘Awaken your best’ campaign. Lots of people are sick and have a sleep problem. But there are also people living high-functioning lives who have a sleep problem. They want to be better than they are. People may not just be trying to get well, they’re trying to be at their best.

“We’re simplifying that message by saying we want to help people reach what is their best. It’s about the language we use, and we’re making our tone of voice is less medical and easier to relate to. It’s also about focusing on the outcome you want, rather than us treating that part of your sleep and ignoring everything else.”

Cultural shift

Delamare agreed the cultural ramifications of such a brand shift are significant.

“When you are a product-based business, to shift to solutions and delighting people through a healthcare pathway is a big change. It took a lot of conversations, plus getting lots of data to back up why we need to be more consumer-focused,” she said. “It’s also about being outcomes-focused – people need to have that good outcome. It’s what people think is a good outcome too, not what we think.”

Skills investment has been vital to progression. On the marketing side, Delamare noted investment in an ecommerce manager plus content creator, bringing total headcount to 11.

“We hired a new marketing director a year ago, who was in ResMed but originally came from a consumer background, so she has a different mentality,” Delamare continued. “What’s been amazing is the team upskilling themselves.

“But we have also been recruiting more from out of the healthcare space, such as retail, or ecommerce backgrounds. That helps us change the internal mentality of the team.”

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One area still maturing is how ResMed uses customer insights and the wealth of data at its disposal to start personalising engagement with consumers from different demographics, gender and age groups.

“We have global and local data to show some people in certain demographics and age groups will do better on different things. It’s early days but we’re starting to see the sort of person who will probably like that pathway or solution,” Delamare said. “We’re still looking rather than using it yet.”  

One insight Delamare pointed to is middle aged females are less likely to seek help in this area. By contrast, men generally get pushed by their partners to seek help.

“Historically, everyone was treated the same, regardless of gender or age. We see this doesn’t suit a lot of people – there’s a small percentage it works for only. We need to think differently,” she said.  

It’s equally apparent an omni-channel approach is vital to ResMed’s efforts. “I see these all as pieces of the puzzle, and we need all of it to successful - awareness campaigns, good online support, good people on the phones, or doing Skype coaching. All of this needs to work together,” Delamare said.

“There are people who don’t want to talk face-to-face – they want it all online. Some don’t want to talk about sleep, they just want to get it done. Others want to share their life story. So we’re working to shift towards what they need.”  

What has been hard to measure is what this mix looks like. “You may go online and do an assessment or get test sent to your home. Then you may go into a store, talk to the team, then go online again,” Delamare said.

“We’re learning how to accurately measure where people are coming from. But people are definitely coming in and out of different channels. So we can’t just be ecommerce or a store.”

As for what 2020 holds, Delamare said the team will evaluate how the Presidents Cup went, and actively pursue more media engagement, focusing on consumer stories and evolving content online to become more engaging.

“We are at the beginning. It’s been an experiment, and it’s the biggest marketing campaign we have ever done, and so far, so good. We’ve seen amazing response this week with press coverage, and we’re looking at how our brand awareness increases,” she added.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia. 

 

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