How Rebranding Could Boost Your Senior Care Organization’s Marketing
Branding is a key element of marketing a senior care organization, but when that branding is outdated, isn’t a match for your organization, or is no longer working, then it’s time to rebrand. Rebranding can revitalize your marketing and generate excitement and enthusiasm among staff. But for a rebrand to go smoothly, it’s important to strategically approach the process.
Why Rebranding Is So Important
Sharon Brooks, Chief Marketing Officer at 2Life Communities, explains that a brand is what gives marketing efforts their strength. “If you find that you have a brand that’s no longer authentic to who you are, or you’ve outgrown a brand, or it’s no longer resonating with the market, it’s time to take a look at how you want to rebrand,” she says.
Brooks notes that senior living communities have been rebranding at unprecedented rates over the last five years, and multiple factors affect that decision. Many communities have religious denominations in their brand and are rebranding in effort to indicate that they’re more inclusive than they might appear. Communities are also rebranding to remove words like “elderly” or “senior” from their names in an effort to avoid ageism.
According to Brooks, 2Life rebranded four years ago for similar reasons. Previously branded as Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, the community wanted to eliminate the word elderly from the name and wanted to highlight that it is inclusive of people of all faiths.
“We wanted to continue expressing Jewish beliefs and values, and we wanted a brand that acknowledged that as part of its ethos,” says Brooks. “We chose the name 2Life to represent the toast to life, but it’s much more than a toast. It’s a real choice to live life to your best ability and to make the most of a great life that’s been given to you.”
Understanding the Rebranding Process
Brooks explains that in most cases, someone raises the issue of a brand that needs to be refreshed. There is conversation within the organization, and then the organization and board agree that they are open to rebranding. “I think it’s really about an iterative process between a creative team and a consumer research team,” she says. Sometimes rebranding may be a complete renaming of the organization, or the organization might retain its name but embrace a new look.
Madeleine Park, Chief Marketing Officer of Netsertive, says that there are many different ways to tackle rebranding, including a complete overhaul or simply new marketing photos. “If you meet in the middle here, typically it will start with a target market analysis and understanding of who we are marketing to and what services we currently provide,” she explains.
“Then, based on those answers, we do a full marketing collateral audit. We organize the marketing and brand pieces and create a roadmap of what can stay and what needs to be updated. Then, for whatever needs to be updated, we prioritize based on visibility in the market. For example, a website is the highest priority, while T-shirts are a low priority.”
Tips for a Smooth Rebranding Process
When it comes to rebranding, Park encourages organizations to avoid acting impulsively. “Changing your brand is a big deal. Think of it as plastic surgery for your business; you want to take each step with care,” she says. “You should do your due diligence when it comes to looking at your competition, the budget you have, and the people implementing it. If you are not sure how to do it yourself, I recommend reaching out to an expert company or consultant.”
Brooks highlights the importance of hiring a creative group that your organization has chemistry with. That group needs to understand your organization and your brand essence on a deeper level. She also notes that it’s important to do great consumer research and find out whether your audience is feeling the same way about branding opportunities as your organization.
She explains that it’s also important to roll out the brand from the inside out so residents and staff aren’t surprised by suddenly seeing the brand unveiled publicly. “You want to orchestrate a whole series of internal rollouts with key internal celebrations of the brand before you go to the general public,” she says.
Similarly, plan on how you’ll implement the brand across the entire organization. 2Life created a brand playbook which was instrumental in helping to roll out the new brand across every department. That playbook is available electronically through shared drives, so anyone designing internal communications or signage was aware of the new brand standards. Brooks credits that effort as allowing the organization to very quickly change over to the new brand.
Rebranding takes time and work, but it can be rewarding experience, especially when you create a new brand that’s true to your organization. Don’t be afraid to wait until you find that name and brand that’s truly meant to be. “We immediately felt that it was right,” Brooks says of the new 4Life brand. “The sense of “this is it” was fantastic.” That just-right brand can strengthen your marketing and your identity as an organization.
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