We recently read an article that we thought was a great representation of how qualitative market research can transform a brand. The author, Joe Sharlip of Mothership (mothershipstrategy.com), does a great job explaining the problem and outcome in this case study. Enjoy!
*A special thanks to Jay Zaltzman for alerting us to this entry.
A continuing care retirement community felt it needed to fix a broken business model, expand the scope of its non-traditional support and off-campus services, and modernize its image to stay current with trends in marketing to seniors.
An all-day Brand Workshop was conducted; the management team dug deep to identify what should stay and what needed to be fixed. The session revealed significant agreement on core values, but several serious divides as to how the community could evolve as a business going forward. One area of disagreement: to what extent would the community’s religious affiliation impede its ability to reach new secular prospects?
Research was conducted to test the assumptions generated during the brand workshop. Many of the concerns were debunked. For example, most prospects felt that, if the religious aspect were not ‘front and center,’ it would not have a negative impact. In fact, the faith-based affiliation was viewed by some as a positive – being a non-profit made the community more desirable and reliable.
Based on the research as well as the core values garnered from the brand workshop, a new business model, brand architecture and brand identity were developed. The focus of the community’s marketing strategy shifted from being print-heavy to one primarily driven online by a comprehensive website that integrated 4 business units under one single portal, the introduction of e-marketing, resident populated blogs, and other social media tactics.
What started with one brand workshop led to a new, contemporized and highly relevant brand. In only 18 months since its launch, the community has expanded from one market serving 925 people to three markets serving over 2000 with campus and community-based residential, support and enrichment services. A success story indeed!