CMO profile: How this disruptive Aussie company’s marketing leader is building a brand that feels better

Digital healthcare disruptor, Rosemary Health, is looking to transform patient care. Here, its head of marketing shares the fresh brand thinking and marketing supporting this ambition inside and out

Brand design is often positioned in terms of its impact and utility with external customers. But for Rosemary Health, a brand overhaul is also helping the disruptive business realise the brand it’s aspiring to be internally, its head of marketing says.

Rosemary Health is an online doctor service striving to pioneer a new form of personalised primary care. Its goal is to create a generational business that will become key part of Australia’s primary healthcare system. The service was founded by doctors and is backed by legendary US investor and former Facebook chairman, Jim Breyer. 

The model centres around a digital-and patient-first approach, orienting doctors, nurses and pharmacist services, conversations and connections around the ongoing needs of the patient in a data-driven way and without physical interaction. While the business is no doubt riding the wave of accelerated telehealth services off the back of the Covid-19 pandemic, Rosemary Health is very much focused on creating progressive digitised healthcare that goes well beyond shifting select services online.

And yet when Sara Lim was first presented with Rosemary Health’s website and branding prior to joining in August 2021, she was underwhelmed.

“The idea has huge potential… but when I checked out the site, it was a little underwhelming,” she tells CMO. “It was when I started researching more into the category and looking at examples of asynchronous healthcare in other countries and those who had done really strong digital and direct-to-consumer messaging in a compelling way, that I was hooked.

“It required me to see what our co-founder and CEO, Romain Bonjean, meant through the lens of who he was benchmarking us to be. Because it’s such a new category, you wouldn’t really understand the potential until you see the fuller picture.”  

What’s more, many of Rosemary Health’s staff felt the same way. “Everyone in the business knew what we were, had big missions and were excited about the future, but hated our brand design,” Lim says.

“You could almost feel the fervent disjoint, as it didn’t describe who we are, didn’t carry the vision and wasn’t exciting. Yet we are excitable people. Our business is full of talented people who could be anywhere in another job but who choose to be here to make something different.”

Finding your brand feet

It was a problem Lim knew she had to address, but one she knew she couldn’t tackle first. So in the initial three months, Lim refined brand design with light-touch humour to support growing areas of the business, such as its sexual health clinic services, and to make Rosemary Health more approachable. Another priority was raising the floor in paid performance and lifecycle email communications.

“We also started experimenting in launching a repeat prescriptions clinic 22 different scripts you could get repeat prescriptions for online,” Lim continues. “That took off. So we were diversifying and stretching the brand and what we stood for.”

The next phase became one of relaunch. Lim describes it as one of the most ambitious projects she’s attempted in a short timeframe.

Credit: Rosemary Health


“It wasn’t just launching a new ad, it was a whole new brand design, assets for TVC, out-of-home, radio, performance marketing. That represented at least 100 variations,” she says. “We also launched a completely new website under same brand design, as well as all our lifecycle emails, so another 100 variations. It was a crazy time but very exciting. And it built excitement internally, too.”

Rosemary Health’s new brand design includes a playful Claymation-style campaign with purpose-written indie rock jingle. On centre stage are an animated band called ‘Fully Sick’, who play the tune and sing cheeky lyrics describing various benefits of online care, such as ‘doctors without the waiting rooms’ and ‘repeat prescriptions from our pharmacists, unless you need an exorcist’. The song has the chorus tagline, ‘Rosemary feels better’.

As part of its launch campaign, Rosemary Health has debuted films and audio clips of lengths from 90 seconds to 6 seconds appearing as TVCs, digital, radio social and out-of-home advertising. Webprofits is Rosemary Health’s paid agency for digital marketing, SEO and performance; Wavemaker for all broadcast and media strategy; and Milk + Honey United for creative redesign.

“When new launched the new design people just said yes, that’s us,” Lim comments. “It didn’t just provide us with what we needed to communicate and educate customers, it also told us who we are, and became the brand we want to be and live up to be.”

Career learnings

Lim is no stranger to brand design and development. She started her career as a management trainee at Unilever and describes that role as her “first and dearest teacher”.

“I feel I understood marketing when I was at Unilever and by doing it in the job. There’s only so much theory can teach you – it really is about doing it and seeing with your own eyes,” Lim says. “That gave me the foundations of my approach as a marketer.”  

It also taught Lim how to own and justify a brand. “There’s this misconception around FMCGs, particularly in Australia, that it’s slow and not a startup environment. The truth was all brand managers are owners of the brand. If we are not good at our jobs, the brand won’t get marketing investment,” Lim says.

“We are fighting for our brands and are the voice of those brands. That is an attitude I have carried into all my roles, and it’s taught me how to justify to the business as well as build a plan that’s right for the size of the brand and organisation. It teaches you how to play as a market leader versus competitor and to fight for your brand in the right way.”

From there, Lim moved to Reckitt Benckiser as a brand manager, then leapt out of category and into ridesharing player, Didi, as it launched in Australia.

“I was thrown into world of digital on steroids. The biggest lesson there was how to play in a fully digital world,” Lim says. “I also came into a business without a structure of how marketing should do things. I couldn’t justify strategy in the same way as I wasn’t talking to marketers

“I had to justify more of my actions not just on how marketing does things and that it’s best-in-class, but why it’s best-in-class. It forced me to ask more questions and it taught me to respect processes.

“That’s what I have focused on in Rosemary Health. I could never have just built a brand without all that thinking, challenging, constant research on design, what consumers are looking for. It’s art but also so much science, analytics and foundations to it.”

Tapping into the wealth of digital performance data at Rosemary Health, for instance, taught Lim that convenience is big play and attraction factor, as is trust.

“These two are very human metrics. So we have designed everything to connect to a functional benefit: Doctors without the waiting rooms, medication straight to your door, repeat scripts without the trips, all in a song jingle,” she explains. “This is tied back up to the emotional benefit that Rosemary just feels better.

“It’s a very deliberate design to bring to life what is a functional story but with delight in a differentiated way. We also designed the whole world to look like nothing else, not just in healthcare, but any industry.

“We are looking at reimagining healthcare and being the first name to call when you’re thinking about healthcare online. So we had to move away from a staid marketing approach. We are designed to be distinctive and playful, but we are very clear in our messaging on those benefits.”  

Marketing's back to the future

It’s also this balance of performance and brand that’s seen Lim both dial up Facebook and Google as well as broadcast and above-the-line channels.

“In so many ways, I feel we’re going back to the future with marketing. With the onset of Privacy Law changes, for example, we need to go back to foundations of how we used to do marketing, which is building brand and awareness,” she comments. “It’s a slower game potentially but ever-more important.

“Digital got so much airspace because you could attribute the data; it doesn’t mean broadcast is less effective. Multi-mix modelling is starting to become a popular conversation all over again. Why? Because we are going back into an age when we don’t have attribution as clearly as we are used to.”  

Short term, Lim is measuring success on cost of acquisition now there’s better quality creative resonating with consumers.

“We’re looking at higher engagement rates, growth in consumer queries, improved satisfaction score across board, improved open rates on emails and lower subs churn to signify the quality of our emails,” she says. “My past experience shows me that branding overall improves NPS, perception of how consumers see your brand and generates a halo effect to all of the services you provide. I’m seeing that coming into the metrics here – consumer queries are growing, page views are getting a bit longer, conversions are improving in some paid pages, plus there are improving engagement rates, less negative comments in Facebook and satisfaction scores are improving.”

Surveys built into the Rosemary Health website also show sources of awareness are diversifying, with worth-of-mouth and other channels like radio growing in stature.

“Now, want to work further on innovation in content to lean on that as our next stage of growth,” Lim says.

To do this, Lim’s team are focusing on deeper control, trust and equity and accruing earned media. Having brought on a lifecycle manager early on, and maintaining a paid performance lead, Rosemary Health has also hired a senior content coordinator and design, with experience in SEO and content extension across other mediums.

“This signifies the mark of where we want to be in the future. We are expanding and now focused on hiring content creatives in the marketing team,” Lim says.  

The website design was also crafted in-house, with emphasis on user interface and journey and changes to how consumers navigate the site and click into treatment conditions. This came from a strong push to understand patients better, analysing data and exploring where they drop out, Lim says.

“We are now seeing uplift in conversions, accounts created to purchase and higher satisfaction scores,” she says.  

The initial Rosemary Health launch campaign, which kicked off nationally in March, will run for up to eight weeks and is complemented by always-on performance advertising.

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