Is it time to call in the branding experts?

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Bridget Levin
Bridget Levin

Changes in the senior living sector are happening fast, and your branding will need to keep pace.

Is your team battling with an outdated name that no longer reflects what the market is searching for? We hear this a lot and believe that demand for branding and re-branding will be exponential as senior housing reinvents itself to match a rapidly evolving demographic with changing needs and expectations.

Gone are the days when senior housing brands conveyed a singular tone of a country idyll or final care destination. Today's rising seniors are vital and resistant to the notion of aging, declines in health and ability or even the inevitability of death. They view themselves as forever young, able and active, and they want their housing and assistive care options to reflect this optimism.

Brands need to define the new options available at this stage of life and reflect a desirable lifestyle that is compelling and consistent with how members of the target market sees themselves. Senior living branding will need to convey the idea that your organization understands the target market and can effectively communicate with it. This starts with the brand.

Before you launch into a branding project, an audit of your existing name and tagline and/or current position should include questions such as:

  • Is your brand/brand strategy relevant?
  • Will it serve you for the next 10+ years?
  • How does you brand compare with those of top competitors?
  • Does your brand have a memorable personality?
  • Does it ring true?
  • What is currently working about your brand?
  • What does your target market think about your brand?
  • Does it connect emotionally?
  • Is it reflective of your organization's values?

Armed with the answers, you'll be ready to tackle creating a new brand or refining an existing brand and then evaluating your tagline to ensure that it is amplifying your message to the market. Putting in the upfront effort will create a brand strategy with staying power.

When you have a solid brand and brand strategy in place, you will be able to align it with your marketing plan. It will allow your organization to rally behind a unifying direction that ultimately translates to the promised experience.

Bridget Levin is one of the founding principals of Nametag International Inc., a global naming and brand strategy firm. She has more than 30 years of naming experience and specializes in market-driven identity based on resonant brand positioning.

McKnight's Senior Living welcomes marketplace columns on subjects of value to the industry. Please see our submission guidelines for more information.

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