Every great story begins with a progression of ideas, data and images. These are assembled and distilled into a comprehensive marketing plan, and then transformed into a unique brand identity and advertising communication campaign.
At SGD, we adhere to this progression with both more precision in execution of the plan, and more freedom in expressing the emotional core of our message. The science and the art.
Here’s a brief overview of a recent assignment with an assisted living and memory care community where we employed both:
The Science of Sales
Number of apartments, market conditions, leads needed, qualification of leads, deposit goals, pricing, sales process, as well as meeting the expectations of both seniors and their adult children.
All of these were taken in to consideration when determining an appropriate budget, deciding where to be—online and offline—and how often (the media plan) and measuring success (analytics and managing expectations).
There were no shortcuts.
Our community was opening to a market crowded with CCRCs, independent living, assisted living and memory care communities. Our budget was limited. By necessity, we had to be close to right or absolutely right at each step.
The Art and the Science of Positioning
There is data. And then there is interpreting the data.
Studying the competitive set allowed us to determine how to differentiate our community. Market research provided us with greater understanding of our audience but it didn’t reveal how to express that understanding. For that, we looked at the architectural plans, we stood on the site, we pressed the owners to clarify why they wanted to build it and we listened to both seniors and adult children as well.
Being “local”—the ownership group grew up here; the local inspiration behind the architectural design; the source for the food; the programming features; the sense of self-identification—turned out to be the critical element of our positioning.
The Art of Advertising
Advertising, when done well, is really a stylized form of storytelling.
We took the positioning of “built for people who have lived in this city for years and love the lifestyle” and created a narrative about “beautiful living”.
It was a hit: with local media, with our target audience and with the executive and sales team of our new community who decided to sign off each of their email messages with “beautiful living begins here.”
The imagery was gorgeous, of course, as was the language used to describe a community that had not yet opened. This point is critical since our audience had no way to experience our community other than through the visual language and the story line of the advertising campaign.
The Science of Seizing the Opportunity
Social media and public relations are driven by opportunity, timing and the quality of the content. Several times we knew we had a good story to tell, but we had to wait until the timing was right before spending to expand it.
Once the stories were placed on local TV, we readjusted our paid media to take advantage of the momentum. The added “boost” to the stories on social media generated greater reach and exposure and was highly effective as well.
The final step of this advertising / storytelling campaign was to create urgency with our target audience to take action. Details forthcoming in our next post.
SGD is a full-service Bay Area advertising, marketing, branding and public relations agency specializing in seniors, boomers and adult children. In addition to working with new senior living communities, we’ve repositioned, rebranded and relaunched senior living communities in California, Kentucky, Maryland and Virginia attaining occupancy rates of 90% or more in very competitive markets.
About the Author: Duff Reiter is an Account Director / Planner at SGD Advertising specializing in senior / boomer, healthcare, lifestyle, financial, travel / leisure and technology brands since 1984.