Turn the Unspoken to the Unforgettable


Alzheimer’s disease is Australia’s third biggest killer.
By 2030, it will kill more Australians than cancer.

Think about that for a moment.

Whether you live in Australia, Angola, Azerbaijan, or anywhere else, you may know someone affected by Alzheimer’s. Even if you don’t, you will understand why this rebrand was absolutely necessary.

Stick with me here on how and why the results were quite effective. I’ll also share insights gleaned from this case study for your brand in whatever current state it’s in. These apply regardless of whether you’re a B2B or B2C (all P2P) business, non profit, a government agency, NGO, or if you offer services and products to individuals locally or globally.

Alzheimer’s Australia.

Some facts before the rebrand:

  • Few knew that Alzheimer’s is expected to kill more Australians than cancer by 2030

  • Alzheimer’s disease is Australia’s third biggest killer and there is no cure

  • Alzheimer’s care was only 112th in the country on the list for donations

  • The government did not recognize it as a chronic disease.

  • The disease had been stigmatized, underfunded, and ignored

The Interbrand Sydney team was charged with an important brief:

Turn the unspoken into the unforgettable.

Before I continue, see this very short video now. Go ahead. It’s under two minutes, and it’ll help you get more out of my thoughts below.

It was worth watching, wasn’t it?

You see, so often those of us involved in developing and managing brands parrot abstract concepts and jargon that clients often don’t get. Example? Phrases like:

“A Brand is a Promise.”

“Branding is Storytelling.”

These phrases may have meaning to us while others’ eyes glaze over. Worse, you may get nodding heads that are far from indications of agreement or understanding.

Well, the Interbrand team that partnered with Alzheimer’s Australia did not have the luxury of resting on theoretical jargon. There was, and is, a real problem that had to be addressed. Immediately.

They were not building awareness and advocates among branding insiders who already knew the problem. Their goal was to harness energies and funds and ignite action among the general public, government policy-makers, potential donors, and more.


1.  Be human

Show potential supporters the real human individual they can actually help. With permission, and if appropriate, show real examples of specific individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s, not “actors.” If permission is not possible, then find a way to describe the type of person(s) that will inspire potential donors and others to act.

2.  Be simply bold, not passive
From the video, you see the very simple ways a focused message, strong graphics, clear language, and emotions expressed by real caregivers and families can effect realchange for Alzheimer’s sufferers. I don’t say this lightly, since I know all too well that “simple” can be hard. It seems easier to just throw out a lot of facts and figures, rather than focusing on feelings and specific needs. At times, it seems easier to clutter than to clarify. Do your best to edit your message and other elements you use to grab attention and drive action.

3.  Empower with passion and purpose
Stay focused on the purpose behind the problem you solve or are trying to solve. This will help inform your strategy, actions, behaviors, and how you inspire others to first benefit from, and then to join your efforts.

4.  “Go where the love is”
My friend Jyoti Ganesh taught me this phrase that applies to many areas of life. Where your brand is concerned, direct your message to the individuals who most likely  share your goals or benefit from your offers. This doesn’t mean, however, that you stop with only those who are most empathetic to your cause. Once you have them squarely in your corner, they can help you reach and connect with a broader audience.

5.  Help your community so they help you
Provide your advocates with all the possible tools and resources they might need to help increase your reach. First, thank them for their care and contribution. Then, ask them what you can provide them with that can deepen your connection and make it long-lasting.

6.  Give desired guidance and guidelines
Tell me what you want me, the donor/advocate/policy-maker, to do and help me do it. Learn more about what specific improvements about any aspect of your organization they would like to see implemented. Respond by actually making the recommended changes you can towards reaching your goals.

7.  Build communities for support to get past the pain
Explore all possible ways to keep a permanent dialogue going between you and the groups you serve or target. Provide opportunities for these various groups and individuals to connect with you and each other, either in person, or digitally.

8. Harness brilliant breakthroughs from diverse places
Get out of your box. Seek ideas and input from unexpected places. Tell your story in venues off the beaten path. Collaborate with those you may have previously discounted. Look for the unexpected solutions.

Fresh perspectives come from a fresh perspective.

Admittedly, there is often a tendency to miss opportunities for real innovation and advancement. You know it’s tough to get an unaware audience to embrace your message—in this case the subject of Alzheimer’s was not even on the radar for a majority of the Australian public. Your best efforts will undoubtedly yield meaningful steps towards achieving your goals.

True commitment to winning means that you can’t afford to ignore those areas where your best breakthroughs emerge. If you must, ask others to help reveal your blind spots. This prepares you to evolve and maintain relevance even as things change—which they inevitably do sooner or later.

There are more lessons from this winning and important brand transformation.  Please share other lessons you gleaned from this or any other strong, effective rebrand you know of in the comments below.

Popular posts:

Think You Should Rebrand? 7 Reasons to Think Again
Re-assert Your Prestige Dominance: 5 Lessons from Huguenin