Sound anchors us to our environment. It not only helps us communicate with one another but also enables us to lead rich lives filled with meaning. Connect Hearing is the largest network of audiologists and hearing care professionals in Canada, with120 clinics across the nation. They were faced with the imposing task of convincing the elderly demographic to seek help for a problem most of them denied experiencing. 

Marketing hearing aids and bringing in clients for hearing tests poses a challenge because research shows individuals often delay seeking proper treatment for hearing loss by up to seven years. Exacerbated symptoms and severe impairment are just some of the direct consequences of postponing treatment. 

Connect Hearing’s mainstream ad campaign, “Better Hearing, No Exceptions”,  portrays hearing loss as a matter of personal responsibility. It depicts everyday hearing situations where an individual may be in denial about their impairment, emphasized by the phrase, “My hearing is fine…”. The Chinese-Canadian audience found the black, white and green print ads alienating and culturally irrelevant. Connect Hearing needed to completely revamp their marketing strategy in order to convey the same message to this new audience.

Within the Chinese community, beliefs about an individual’s wellbeing are markedly different — health problems are viewed as a family responsibility. If a single-family member suffers, everyone in the family is affected. In Chinese culture, adult children are expected to look after their elderly parents. Often, they will even live in the same house, or be neighbors. Adult children will take their parents to health exams, or in this case, hearing tests, and may even help their parents choose which hearing aid to purchase.

Family relationships are extremely important and valued; therefore, the multicultural strategy for Connect Hearing personifies the message: “stay connected with your loved ones.” This strategy emphasizes the importance of maintaining quality of life and familial relationships as you age and motivates its Chinese-Canadian audience to book free hearing tests at the local clinic. 

Three separate creatives were conceived and produced to deliver this message. The first one reflects a common occurence wherein a grandmother has trouble hearing her family, resulting in their need to raise their voices.

The second creative portrays a telephone conversation hindered by the listener’s inability to comprehend the speaker because their voice sounds weak and distant.

The third creative exemplifies a grandmother’s habit of cranking up the radio’s volume to the max but still experiencing difficulty with listening comprehension.

These vibrant new Chinese ads use hyperbole to reflect the diminished quality of hearing that happens when auditory health is neglected. Voices over the phone, radio or in real life sounded weak and distant, and communication often became a struggle when living with a hearing impairment. These ads encourage proactivity and making conscious decisions about one’s health, for the sake of remaining close with loved ones. It plays to the Chinese culture’s core values and delivers an impactful message that speaks to the whole family, not just the individual affected by hearing loss.

This campaign was extremely well-received by the Chinese community. It raised brand awareness for Connect Hearing by more than 50% within the elderly Chinese demographic and drove a 20% increase in phone calls and appointments since the campaign launched in late 2018. The campaign superseded its planning goals and completely changed the way Connect Hearing approached its ethnic clientele and multicultural marketing strategy. Connect Hearing’s willingness to adopt a more relatable and culturally appropriate strategy garnered them not only new customers but also solidified their brand as one of the most respected leaders in their field. 

Written by: Jackie Quiring

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