Elevating brands
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Elevating culture from the inside

When it comes to businesses that espouse people-first ethics, branding has to go deeper.

MAX first turned to DAIS in 2017 to help create organisational change and cultivate a stronger sense of brand culture. The organisation, which provides vocational, educational and training services on behalf of the government had to rethink their business when disability services moved to a consumer-driven model.

John Parsons, General Manager of Marketing & Communications, reached out to DAIS for support in elevating the structure and culture of the company’s workforce. Prior to working with DAIS, John described the business as ‘brand spaghetti’.

“There were jumbles of different entities, so we needed to organise and consolidate and make it understandable from the outside in” he said. “We had a couple of objectives, to harness the power of our employees and connect our employees to the brand. We also had to consolidate.”

In doing so, John believed that the business would be in a future-proof position, and better face any changes the market threw at them.

Together, DAIS and MAX developed a concept called ‘the spark’ which acts as a mechanism for talking about the intangible aspects that set the business apart. With clients ranging from recent migrants, recently released inmates or a person with an intellectual or physical disability, the company is incredibly human oriented, with service at its core.

“When you go into one of our site offices, you go in and see the energy that sits behind a site with the right culture,” he explained. “There is a feeling or a sense that the site is alive with activity and the people who work there know the first names of the clients who walk in the door. Staff stay after hours to help someone with their CV. They go above and beyond. There’s a drive and a passion there.”

On July 1 each year, MAX holds a Spark Day, where new staff sign a charter dedicated to the company values. As part of this, DAIS invented the Spark Tool, a digital mechanism for employee value proposition, that allowed people in the business to make their own personal digital spark based on their personal and work values, and share it with their peers. It provided MAX with the opportunity to foster their culture, elevate conversations around the spark and check in from a corporate standpoint.

“Our employment engagement surveys are in the highest 90th percentile and we’ve had the strongest disability employment services performance over the last 12 months despite COVID, which is fantastic, and that extends across the business and can be attributed to our brand.”

John explained that part of the Spark Tool is also empowering its clients through the company’s values of support. It also creates opportunities, work with employers, training providers and the local community to help transform people’s lives.

“All of those people are part of our brand ecosystems,” he said. “What we do and the way we do it – that is the spark.”

Going into the project, John knew that what he was embarking on wasn’t a simple branding exercise. “It was a cultural change as well as a brand repositioning,” he said. “It had to go deeper than the brand. Every aspect changed and brand was one element of that.”

In the early days of the process, John said the business used the notion of incredible service to connect with employees at the initial stages of the transition.

“DAIS helped us find a way to connect people to the concept,” he said. “We’d ask employees to tell us about a time they’ve been blown away by customer services. It helped connect them emotionally.”

“From there we built layers of storytelling. There was already an emotional connection to the idea and everyone understood what the brand was about.”

With a developed brand promise of giving ‘every person. every chance.’, DAIS has continued to work with MAX on the way in which they offer training and services. An interpreter service has seen collateral translated into multiple languages. Information is also segmented into multiple formats to give every client a chance to digest information in a way that suits them.

John added that working with DAIS has meant he has learned about the business along the journey as well. “I only joined at the beginning of 2017 and DAIS was the first agency I contracted,” he explained. “We didn’t have sales people and we still don’t. We had to rely on our people to move into this new way of delivering employment services,” he said. “DAIS were the people to help me bring structure and order to all of the things that needed to be done.”

John said that the business’s transformation is ongoing and continues to work with DAIS regularly. “I don’t think it’s ended,” he reflected. “From an implementation perspective, it was 18 months of sustained effort and linked activity.

“Before, we had to invent something and everything was new. Whereas now, we have a system to work within.”

A strong brand architecture established with DAIS means that MAX can acquire new businesses as it grows and easily understand where they fit under the brand. When it acquired Injurynet, a workplace medical services provider, an entire branding process was not required as the architecture acted as a guide for the business to find a solution.

From a business point of view, MAX has seen incredible results in engagement and client satisfaction.

“In terms of tangible results, there is a real spread of those. One is a much clearer and stronger brand identity, and with that came enormous savings in terms of efficiencies and costs within our marketing and communications.”

John Parsons | General Manager of Marketing & Communications

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