Spread the Love!


Is it really possible to preserve an organization’s long-term brand equity and engage a new target audience in meaningful and fruitful ways?

You bet it is.

The Disneyland ride Pirates of the Caribbean opened in 1967, and Gen X and Y came to love it for its log flume cars, “Yo Ho” jingle and 75 live animatronic pirates acting out their bootlegging adventures. Enter Captain Jack Sparrow, the lead character in the 2003 film by the same title, an unforgettable, slightly tipsy and somewhat effeminate swashbuckler that crept into the hearts and minds of children from the more recent generation.

Disneyland had to preserve the brand equity that the old timers so valued in the ride, original to the park’s first opening, but also needed to engage the imaginations and desires of the younger generation. To that tune, Captain Jack Sparrow now makes four appearances throughout the ride.

Just last month, Disney evolved the Pirates brand even further, as reported by Travel and Leisure“On Monday, the famous ‘Redhead’ from the ride has assumed a new, slightly more empowered role as part of the auction scene in the ride. Previously, the Redhead was the ‘object’ up for sale for the pirates to bid on — but now she’s gained some autonomy and a richer character…”

These changes come only after months, and sometimes years, of target market research.

How can senior living communities achieve similar feats?

Articulate the community’s current brand equity by distributing surveys and holding focus groups among residents and family members engaged with your brand. Three categories of questions are typically asked and include:

Overall Perceptions

  • How did you first become aware of this community?
  • What was your initial perception?
  • How has that perception changed over time?

This line of questioning reveals brand equity in past engagement efforts, and responses will show what should be preserved and what might be evolved to capture a new audience.

Perception of Communications

  • Do you recall the communities logo/website?
  • What do you think their particular marketing effort says about the community?

These questions can be customized to individual marketing efforts and should be restated multiple times for multiple efforts. The data gathered from this line of questioning uncovers what marketing tactics resonate with the target audience and how best to continue to develop those efforts to engage a new audience.

Perception of the Brand

  • How is this community changing the world?
  • What is this community doing best?
  • How is this community transforming lives?

These are the million-dollar questions. Responses will show what people love about the brand, which is marketing gold that can be used to truly invite in new audiences and make them raving fans of the brand.

Just like raving fans of those swashbuckling pirates!