Branding is one of the most important things you can do as a company, nonprofit organization or senior living community. When consumers choose what to buy, where to live or even how to live, there is a little voice subliminally encouraging them to make particular decisions.
Often times, consistent branding is what makes that voice speak to consumers and lead them in a particular direction. Several years ago, I started to recognize this because of my own buying habits.
When I want coffee, I choose Starbucks. If I buy waffles, I pick Eggo. If I have a french fry craving, I go to McDonald’s. If I am hurt, I buy a Band-Aid. Branding is so powerful that I can recall hearing my mother say, “I need a Xerox of this document” or “Here is a Kleenex.” Some items have literally become the brand name.
This is not because consumers have tried everything on the market and decided these products were superior. This is because companies have spent time and resources consistently telling us about their brands.
How does this apply to senior living? First, it is crucial to figure out what you stand for, what sets you apart and essentially be able to articulate your brand. That begins with consistent messaging on your website, your Facebook page, and your newsletters and e-blasts. Then, it is critical to spread your branding message to the community and population you are targeting.
Telling the media about activities, residents and stories going on in your community that reinforce the brand is key. For example, if you are an “active aging community,” then you want to let everyone know about the physical fitness programs you have, the active residents who live in your community and the mentally stimulating activities you offer.
By the way, it is important to consistently remind the media to call you an “active aging community” or “senior living community.” I’ve learned that language doesn’t come naturally, but constant reminders make a huge difference. That in itself can help change the way the public thinks of what you do and who lives in your community.
What you say about yourself matters, and the more people read about you or hear that same message, the more impact you will have on that little voice inside of the reader’s head.