When asked, leaders in the senior living industry can easily state their organizational “brand” statements and value propositions, i.e. the things that set them apart in the marketplace and position them as “preferred providers” in their respective niche markets. But sometimes what we think and say about our business does not align with what our customers and other key decision makers experience, perceive and discuss. When a disconnect occurs between the organization’s promise (those wonderful things we say about ourselves in ads, brochures and social media) and the organization’s performance (what customers actually experience with the brand), business results can suffer in the form of underachieving sales, referrals and market share.
What Creates Your “Brand”?
According to the article, “What’s Your Brand?” by Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Magazine, your brand is “how the rest of the world sees your organization.” Delivering on the brand promise starts with a clear understanding not only of how you want to be known or how you promote your organization, but also how your employees and customers actually perceive your brand.
Three major brand influences or “clues” shape those perceptions:
- Functional clues involve the quality of the facilities’ services such as personal care, meals, and activities.
- Mechanical clues include the conditions of the facility. Is it clean, modern and quiet?
- Humanic clues reflect how people act, such as their body language, their tone of voice, their enthusiasm, and how they interact with others.
With today’s highly knowledge consumers and the unprecedented electronic means at their fingertips to share their likes and dislikes with the world, it has never been more important to manage the perception of your brand effectively.
How to Achieve Brand Leadership
The whitepaper, “The Business of Brands” by NAVVIS & Company, offers useful insight into how organizations can transform themselves to maximize their brand performance.
The article, authored by Corrigan, Eaton and Bryant, shares six essential elements for brand leadership:
- BRAND INTELLIGENCE — Gather meaningful customer, market, organizational and brand data to better understand your market position and drive strategy.
- BRAND STRATEGY — Leading brands do not happen by accident. The brand strategy provides an overall direction and plan of action for how to build the value of the brand and achieves the organization’s growth objectives.
- BRAND ALIGNMENT — Brand alignment builds the culture that transforms an organization from one that “promotes the brand” to one that “delivers the brand.”
- BRAND ACTIVATION — The process of converting brand strategy into specific brand-consistent processes, policies and behaviors.
- BRAND COMMUNICATIONS — Many brand campaigns fail not for lack of creativity, but of substance. If brand strategy, alignment and activation have been effectively achieved, brand communications will be much more credible and effective.
- BRAND PERFORMANCE — The overarching goal of brand mastery is growth: in revenue, profitability, market share, customer loyalty and more. By measuring these metrics as well as marketplace trends through ongoing brand intelligence, organizations can refine their brand to keep it relevant, meaningful and effective as a key driver of growth.
A strong brand enhances image, utilization, customer loyalty, and powerful word-of-mouth endorsements.
Sometimes it is difficult for an organization to “see the forest for the trees”, or departmental “silos”. In these situations, help is readily available from experienced senior living consulting firms that have the research, analysis, strategy and communications expertise needed to boost your brand!