Brand Immersion - Observing Like a Pro

January 27, 2016

Despite what most people think, there is more to designing and evolving a brand than simply making it look good/pretty. Our branding adventure involves a number of processes including briefing, researching, workshopping, strategising and finally creating. In the coming weeks we are going to give you our top thought starters that you can apply to an existing or new brand.

In order for us to create compelling and engaging comms we begin with brand immersion - it is our favourite part of the process (and an excuse to bring out our inner voyeur).

The learnings can be invaluable from a creative perspective but also from the point of view of developing a new product, service or business perspective.

So what is brand immersion? Put simply it is listening with your eyes, quietly observing, smelling, feeling and empathising. We look for what people care about through their spaces, their worlds and their objects and how they interact with people without assumptions, generalisations or judgement.

Here are some of our techniques that you can try out for yourself.

Observe like a pro:
Look for things that prompt behaviour
Look for adaptations
Look for what people care about
Look for body language
Look for patterns
Look for the unexpected

Now categorise your observations into:
What - what are they doing? what sparks your curiosity? What is/isn’t working?
How - How are they doing it? Are there any behaviours or objects involved?
Why - Why are they doing it? Why does it matter? Why should we care?

It is this curiosity that drives new innovations and can power your business to be better than you ever imagined.

Rural Northwest Health - a health service provider for communities within the Yarriambiack Shire. Before taking any further steps to research the industry, we dove head first with a trip to the Warracknabeal campus to immerse ourselves within the community and the business. With a combined population between the three serviced towns of just 5000 people, it was evident to us that this was a very caring and connected community. The RNH staff know every clients name - plus their children and grandchildren. Days are filled with crafternoons in the courtyard and the nights are filled with card games and volunteer singalongs. The brand has long represented community and care for many years. This is also endorsed by the fact that staff travel a long way (interstate and international) to work for RNH. They enjoy their work, the company of their colleagues - on the job and after-hours. There are a large number of volunteers of varied ages that help with day-to-day activities. The campuses run many events and would like the Wimmera Mallee community to get involved. RNH cares about the welfare of the broader community and run a number of fundraisers that could benefit from exposure.

Our challenge was to relay this community aspect through experiences and to grow the online community. We spent two days immersing ourselves in life at RNH. Most of their clientele are senior or elderly and not tech savvy. However they do have families seeking information online. The information online was dated so our response had to demonstrate the experience of being a part of RNH and to encourage families to visit and experience RNH for themselves. This human-centred research also led the team to identify new opportunities for RNH to better target its messaging.

Wink’s insights and creative brief provided the essential brand story for the RNH brand, “Connected to empower health care in rural Australia"
The new RNH website has a blog for families to see what their loved ones are doing, for staff to share their future business visions, to share campus progress updates and promote fundraisers. The events platform gives RNH staff an opportunity to update the community with upcoming events and get an understanding of interest and attendance to design future events. The opportunity platform gives potential staff first hand access to job listings, as well as opportunities for volunteers within the community. RNH are even making the most of their new social media campaign, with over 400 active members on their Facebook page engaging with daily content.

See the website we designed at

Illustration by the oh-so-clever Jean Jullien