Branding from the inside out: CARNA becomes a relational regulator
The College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA), who regulates over 33,000 RNs, realized that shifting the brand experience from “autocratic regulator” to “relational regulator” would build a stronger connection with members and enhance its efforts to protect the public.
But this brand shift needed to start on the inside which meant shifting old paradigms as well as ways of working and communicating. Together with Outsidein, CARNA embarked on a journey to first assess its brand to understand how to embed “relational” into the internal culture, and then equip staff to communicate, support and deliver the brand promise of a relational experience to its members. Communication was key to the transformation.
What we did together
Starting on the inside, the relational transformation was an organization-wide effort that was supported and driven by an aligned and committed Leadership team, and communicated to staff. We:
- Identified all the touch points where registrants interact with the organization. This included all correspondence as well as renewal systems, the website, telephone interactions, and physical environment.
- Trained all staff to write so the reading experience for their audience was relational – that is, easy to read and understand with an accessible tone. And using their new writing skills, CARNA immediately transformed a significant amount of written communication.
- Prompted CARNA to humanize technology systems their registrants interact with, taking a user-centric approach to make the experience easier, quicker and more helpful.
- Developed a formal measurement system to understand how they were progressing in their transformation – what was working and what was not, including shifts in perceptions and impact on relationship with registered nurses.
“Relational is now the language of CARNA and has become the measure for what we do; the standard against which we measure ourselves.”
Key learnings from CARNA
- Making a business case for a major change is important for buy-in.
- Brand is not a logo or a marketing project. It’s a cultural change that involves the whole organization.
- Leadership buy-in and leading by example is essential.
- Investing the time to get staff on the same page is crucial because they’re the ones who deliver the relational experience.
Quick wins matter. In CARNA’s case, focusing on transforming their written communications was where the low-hanging fruit and immediate impact lay.