Running a successful senior living community involves more than caring for residents, maintaining occupancies and managing the home. You can have the best reputation of any senior living community in the state, but in a market saturated with competition, you may still struggle to get your unique message out to the public.
Despite their best marketing efforts, senior living communities across the nation find themselves drowning in a sea of sameness, unable to stand out. You may think marketing is intimidating, unpredictable or even a waste of money when your seemingly best tactics fail to make a substantial return on investment. Hope is not lost!
What your community needs is a unique and authentic brand, one that will make your community shine unlike anything that’s been seen before. This can be developed using a proven, research-based method that utilizes the greatest marketing resource available to you: your residents and their families. The first step is to learn what initially attracted your very best residents to your community so that you can unlock the secret to attracting more of those types of residents. Uncovering this information and completing the branding process can be done in four succinct steps:
- Assemble a group of your very best resident families. These are the resident families who have family members that have happily occupied and thrived in your home for years. These are the resident families who refer their friends and family to your community. These are the people who remind you just why you love your job. Make a list of roughly 10-15 of these residents families.
- Design a survey that questions exactly why your residents and their family members love your community. Why did they choose you over others in their area? Why do their family members thrive in your home? What do they enjoy most about your approach to care? What are their special stories about your community? Did you ease their mother’s anxiety about moving into a senior living community? These are the things you will want to learn. Make your survey around 10-15 questions long. Email it to that list of resident families that you compiled, kindly asking them to take part in making your community better for future residents like their loved ones.
- Analyze these responses carefully. It may be a very humbling experience for you to see such a raw perspective on what your community means to your residents and their family members. Know that what you are seeing is the truest version of your brand, honest and unclouded by your own perceptions and biases. These responses will form the core of your new brand.
- Synthesize these responses to construct a brand messaging document that clearly outlines three or four core defining qualities of your community. Explain these in detail, focusing on what value they provide to your residents. Next, generate a single sentence positioning statement that expresses in simple terms what you provide at what value to whom. Finally, develop a brand essence, which is a short phrase that describes your community at its core (i.e. “Welcome Home Again,” “Where Living Is Easy.” etc.). This should be the succinct idea that comes to mind when your residents and their family members think of your community.
The brand messaging, positioning statement and brand essence will create a foundation for all marketing materials you produce henceforth. With a custom brand backed by research in place, you can clearly define your community as an authentic entity set apart from the competition.