Summary: When the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) decided to create a new institute focused on food, it realised there would be challenges ahead, as it meant significant change for the organisation and staff. Ben, an Agile Rose Director, spent 3 months helping address the marketing challenges, and creating the Marketing Plan for the launch. How did it go?
It is a rare privilege to consult on a project involving significant change across a membership organisation, as it is challenging and rewarding at the same time. As well as delivering ideas and structure to the marketing for this new institute, the lessons learnt are applicable to existing institutes, in terms of marketing insights and guidance for change programmes.
The client, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, is the professional voice for environmental health, representing over 10,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors.
Over recent years there has been an increasing focus on food safety as a separate discipline, driven in part by various scandals such as horse meat clandestinely entering the UK food chain. As the membership body for environmental health practitioners, CIEH covers this area as one of many under its umbrella. However, it believed that it was not doing enough for food-specific members, and the wider food industry, under the existing CIEH remit.
Simply put, the resources were spread too thin to effectively champion all those working in the food industry, and to become an effective voice for change within it. So the CIEH decided to create a separate, brand new institute to focus on food - called The Institute of Food Safety, Integrity and Protection (TIFSIP) to meet this need.
We agreed a new brand was required, to create some distance from the CIEH's broader remit, and to attract potential members who were looking for a fresh perspective on food safety.
Ben was asked to spend 3 months on a consultancy project to support the TIFSIP team and prepare for launch and to create its Marketing Plan, from launch onwards.
- Pinning down a clear, focused brief was hard, because the existing CIEH team needed to shift their mindset to a new member profile, predominantly in the private sector unlike the legacy CIEH mindset, which focused on the public sector. Also, conflicting opinions led to delays and rework.
- There was a resistance to change across the organization, which made it difficult to implement new ideas.
- Identifying, appealing and engaging to new potential pools of members where brand awareness of the CIEH was low or non existent. Existing CIEH members needed to feel that the creation of this new institute was not a dilution of the support that they continued to expect from the CIEH.
- Both the name and the brand of the new institute had to resonate with both the private and public sectors.
- For those CIEH members who were interested only in food, there needed to be a clear communication pathway to understand how the two institutes would operate, and where potential overlaps lay.
- Creating a brand new membership institute meant that many external stakeholders needed to be guided through the same broad issues - what were the remits of both the CIEH and TIFSIP?
- There were also considerable issues around working with the limited resourcing of the internal team. This meant that instead of taking the time to look afresh at new ways of working and tactics, to create something new and innovative, tasks were done ‘as we’ve always done them at the CIEH.’
- These included developing a new brand identity and website, CRM development and content creation.
- There was a strong need for the CIEH staff to be communicated with effectively, as there were concerns about resourcing, and team workloads.
- Several workshops were held with the project team, focusing on the marketing challenges and solutions. During these Ben encouraged colleagues to explore new approaches and ideas.
- Working with the Policy team to research the drivers and motivation for new markets - which job roles areas should we be targeting in which order, and with what sequential messaging?
- Brand identity brief was written to ensure clarity and the new logo and design guidelines were guided through the design process.
- Web site development included: project management, user journeys and how best to leverage the increasing flow of food related content.
- Created a Marketing Plan guiding the organisation through key phases of Awareness, Consideration and Action, for CIEH members and non-members. Included a Master Plan to ensure correct tactics occurred in sequence. Also included a tool-kit of collateral etc and how best to invest the marketing budget.
- Content planning process and tools for rolling, 3 monthly content Calendar.
Results after 3 months
- Delivery of a “register your interest” email campaign generated a 30% response rate.
- A TiFSiP new market membership recruitment plan for the internal team to follow.
- A new website with 'My TiFSiP' a separate portal integrated with CRM which attracted 3,500 unique visitors.
- Successful PR campaign, £15,000 AVE after 3 months, included Head of TiFSiP, appearing on the BBC news.
- 5 well attended internal staff briefings.
- A launch event at the House Commons with over 60 attendees.
- Creation of an online newsletter with 3000 subscribers and open rate of 32%.
- Creation of 2 key social media channels; a Linkedin group with over 700 members and Twitter with over 500 followers after 3 months.
- New brand and identity created and applied across multiple formats and channels.
- Lessons learnt
The name - getting the TIFSIP name agreed and approved was a complex, lengthy process, as the CIEH had to get internal agreement and then the support of partnering organisations in the food sector. More research should have been undertaken before commitment to the name was made.
The brand – an initial desire to borrow a few design elements from the CIEH brand, most notably the colour, whilst also looking distinctive enough to 'standalone’ became an issue. Brand is more than a logo. It needs to appeal to the target membership not just internal decision makers. The brand was revised, involving significant rework, but this took more time and budget.
Resourcing - TIFSIP was essentially a brand new membership organisation, and developing it to launch did put significant pressures on the existing CIEH team, who were heavily involved in every step. For example creating a regular flow of food related content for TIFSIP and the mainstream CIEH was challenging. A better solution would have been to recruit a team of freelancers to inject fresh thinking and provide additional resources.