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The NDIS: New territory for Service Providers

Posted by Ben Griffiths  |  10 Jan 2018

On 1 July 2016, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (known as the NDIS) was introduced around Australia. The NDIS is considered to be a major reform to the way in which disability care and support is funded.

Before the NDIS, government funding went directly to disability service providers, resulting in people with disabilities and their families with little choice and control over their healthcare decisions. With the NDIS however, government funding no longer goes to the disability service providers, but instead to the client. This means people with a disability can now choose the providers they want.

Over 460,000 Australians with disability will enter the NDIS in coming years. There are growth opportunities for providers who respond to this new demand.

So what does this mean for service providers?

Essentially this turns the disability care industry into a commercial market where service providers must compete for clients. Service providers need to be thinking about how they can attract potential customers, just like a commercial business would have to. More of a focus needs to be put on marketing and branding to ensure they ultimately benefit from the scheme and continue to be able to provide valuable services to those with disabilities.

So what areas of marketing do service providers need to look at? Below is a list of five basic but crucial elements that need to be addressed when building and maintaining your brand.

5 ways service providers can improve their branding in preparation for the NDIS

1. A Strong Identity:
Your logo is the foundation of your brand. Your stationery, signage, marketing material, promotional campaigns and any other branding items are built upon the look and feel of your logo. A lot of organisations make the mistake over-complicating their logo. But if a logo is designed with simplicity in mind it will create consistency throughout all your marketing which subsequently builds a strong brand that consumers will recognise and remember. As well as creating a consistent brand, a simple logo will also stand the test of time, meaning you shouldn’t have to look at refreshing your logo for years, even decades and longer.

2. A Consistent Brand:
A brand that is consistent in look and feel across all media will be easier for a potential customer to recognise and recall. If a person suddenly finds themselves in need of your service, they’re more likely to think of, or remember, your organisation if you’ve had a consistent message and look & feel across all of your marketing efforts. To create consistency in your branding, you need to have strict guidelines around the use of your logo, colours, typography and any other elements. Everyone in your organisation who has control over marketing material needs to have thorough knowledge of your brand guidelines. You can never be too strict in this area.

3. A Contemporary Website:
Advancements in web technology are rapid. Hardware and software are continually updated and improved, and your website needs to keep up with these developments. With this in mind, a website should be revisited every 2-4 years to potentially refresh or overhaul all together. To ensure you have a website that functions optimally, it’s best to leave it in the hands of a professional web development agency. Agencies understand the ins-and-outs of best practice and can build a website that looks and works beautifully, and is robust enough to handle viewing in any browser on any device.

4. A Social Media Presence:
In business, the question is no longer “Should I be on social media?” The question now is, “Which social media platforms are best for my business?”  There are so many social media platforms now that it can get quite confusing. But if you choose the ones that are right for you, you can really propel your organisation. The benefits are huge including; building brand awareness, providing valuable customer insights, increasing traffic to your website and the opportunity for highly effective targeted ads, just to name a few. Successful organisations competing in the new competitive environment of the NDIS will be the ones that harness the power of social media and make it work for their business.

5 . Video:
A video can sell products, solve problems, start conversations and engage people. I can think of no other industry where video would work more effectively than in the disability care industry. The main benefit of video over any other media type is its ability to tell stories, and the disability care industry is full of interesting personal stories – stories of hardship and overcoming adversity. By incorporating video in their marketing, service providers can effectively and emotionally tell the stories of their clients and how their services helped improve the quality of those clients’ lives.

The NDIS brings with it new and unchartered territory for service providers. It is completely reshaping an industry. But for service providers that can be proactive in their marketing, it can be an exciting time that will open up opportunities to grow their business and better their service offerings.