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How do you earn the trust of 38 million members?

One of the country’s largest nonprofits views itself through the eyes of its members, and finds a new way to earn their trust.

With an evolving membership base, AARP needed a new way to communicate with Americans aged 50+. But first they had to understand how to earn their trust.

  • Since 1958, the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) has been indispensable in helping Americans over age 50 (“the 50+”) deal with life transitions. But in 2016, with over 38 million members, AARP was facing the same challenges as a large consumer-facing business: a fragmented customer experience, mechanical and often misleading messaging, and customer service that could disappoint members. AARP also had internal silos with competing metrics, making it hard to present a coherent identity and deliver a seamless customer experience. Ziba was tasked with creating a new Customer Experience strategy that would let AARP refocus on their members’ needs, and earn back their trust.

  • Focusing on member needs starts with understanding members, so we started with a massive research effort, with dozens of in-home observations and interviews, focus groups, quantitative studies, and a variety of qualitative inquiries. What came out of it was a straightforward need: help me navigate the complexities of life’s transitions my way. Based on these insights, the Ziba team developed a comprehensive CX strategy, including a clarified value proposition, and improved communications standards and experience principles. They also identified two archetypes to clarify how AARP shows up for the 50+. The Wise Friend is how AARP shows up in everyday life, offering thoughtful advice and making connections that help people through major transitions. And on behalf of the 50+, AARP is a Fierce Defender, fighting for fair legislation and policies that improve the lives of millions.

  • Since its introduction in 2018, the CX Commitment has been embraced by AARP at every level, changing the way they communicate with their members and breaking down barriers within the organization. New internal training courses are bringing AARP’s thousands of employees and volunteers into alignment, and infusing the organization with a renewed sense of purpose. Call center workers are now empowered to become “care agents”, with access to the information they need to solve problems quickly. The Wise Friend and Fierce Defender archetypes have struck an especially strong chord: they’re now referenced regularly when AARP employees discuss strategy, and even show up in external marketing campaigns.

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Two people writing on pieces of paper on a table that has papers and water bottles strewn about

AARP is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age.

  • CX Strategy

  • Brand Insights

  • User Insights

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