Problem: Tarion (formerly The Ontario New Home Warranty Program) is a private company that regulates new home builders and protects new home buyers in Ontario. For years it was criticized by media, home buyers and builders for being bureaucratic and having terrible customer service. People joked that ON-WHIP was a fitting acronym. The Board of Directors brought in a new President and management team to make changes and improve corporate reputation.

Solution: As Vice President, Corporate Affairs at Tarion, Janice Mandel recommended a two part strategy: First, demonstrate improved customer service. Second, re-brand to help people see the company in a new light.

Stakeholder research identified the services and attributes most desired in a company that provides new home buyer protection. These insights drove positioning, naming and tag line development. The name Tarion was selected because it was modern, memorable and provided a link to Ontario, the company’s jurisdiction. The company chose Protecting Ontario’s New Home Buyers as the tagline to embody the new customer vision. Tarion was launched as a customer-focused brand via a series of events for employees, the public and the building industry. An integrated marketing campaign featuring TV, print and radio advertising, educational tools, a new website and a builder awards program drove awareness about the new name and the company’s mandate.

Results: One year after the launch public awareness of Tarion as the organization responsible for protecting new home buyers in Ontario had increased by 20%. Importantly, new home buyers were also much more likely to say Tarion was doing a good job.