2023 is the year that 50+ services - senior living, home care and health care - must update their visual brands.
Your brand is the only asset you have. Brand is not logo and colors and hero images. Brand is your content -- how you share your expertise, joy and integrity with the world - online and in real life.
Everyone is aspirational at every age. My 86 year old father with cardiovascular issues and dementia has aspirations too. He still wants to be "cool" and look his best.
Check yourself. Does your visual marketing fall into these categories?
- Chairs in empty rooms or front-door photos: "nobody wants to see old people" is the implied message.
- Dominating caregiver stock photos: putting elders in physical positions of submission.
- The caring hands stock photo: older hand cradled by younger hand.
- People in the raw: no wardrobe, no make-up, no lighting, no post-production. No Instagram influencer would ever do this.
Long-term, communities and care services are selling themselves short. Without taking control of their brand, the market has done it for them.
While nobody was looking, assisted-living has become a choice for chronic care. People wait until they are 80+ and have serious health and mobility challenges before they move in.
For bold leaders, there are alternatives:
- Put a stake in the ground for your brand. Decide to stand for something, deliver on the promise, and own it. Don't try to be all things to all people doing a Google search.
- Lead with content. Get inspiration from Home Instead's Unretire Yourself, Shoppers Home Healthcare You Are Unltd and the Reverse Mortgage Association's sponsorship of Next Avenue. In fact, the best content marketing by any insurance agency was (and still is) AARP - the entire world thinks it's an advocacy organization when it's a lead-generation machine for United Healthcare.
- Create new experiences. It's not only millennials who want experiences (more on this below). Everyone wants to be part of the community and be seen. Treat adults like adults.
- Hire a pro photographer team. Photograph subjects at their eye level, with wardrobe, makeup and lighting. We judge books by their covers. Being exposed to a single negative physical appearance, causes us to immediately form a negative impression. Then confirmation biases kick in.
- Give your people permission -- let your staff turn their iphone cameras on themselves -- show us what they are doing every day.
Who is senior living is getting branding right? So far, Margaritaville is, Brookdale isn't. Look outside the industry for inspiration.